Sunday May 24,2020
We are studying the heart of man, and specifically the good heart in man that God desires. The good heart leads us to look at the heart of Christ, which leads us to His sermon on the hill. This in turn leads us to see the kingdom of God because it is filled with the new men who have believed in Christ as their Savior, and by means of His blood, God has made us spiritual by His grace. We are a kingdom of priests destined to be with our High Priest forever in the New Jerusalem on the new earth within the new heaven.
A man is saved and made new through faith in Jesus Christ. Faith alone and not works. At salvation that man or woman is baptized into Jesus Christ, meaning immersed in Him, and is made a brand new creature. At that baptism, the believer’s body is made the temple of God and God the Holy Spirit and the God the Son dwell within it. At that moment of salvation, the believer is elected and predestined. But in fact, God tells us that each of us have been elected before the foundation of the world so that he will be holy and blameless, and He predestined us as sons, also before the foundation of the world, so that we would praise the glory of His grace. All believers, as sons and daughters of God, are immediately transferred into the kingdom of God.
All of these amazing blessings, and there are more, turn out to all be a part of the life that was in Christ; a life that He brought with Him when He entered the world, and He showed this life like a light in the darkness. All believers, the sons and daughters, are made that light because they are given, by grace, that life, Christ’s life. Mind you, all of this happened at the moment you believed in Christ as your Savior, by grace, through faith, not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works lest any man boast.
But amazingly, this process, that happened all in a moment by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, didn’t change us outwardly, we hardly felt it when we might think we should have felt like all our inner organs and brain should have lit up with fire, and we weren’t whisked off to heaven. We remained right here, and to the rest of the world pretty much unchanged except for our speech and passion and outlook and message, which to the world was mostly the babblings of a fool who had believed a myth.
I say all this at the outset because every one of these new creatures are called to live like Christ lived, and that without compromise. We might reject it as too hard or too harsh or too lofty. We might think that the pastor is just going through a phase, and that we wish he would get back to grace and faith and all the free stuff that comes with Christianity. And so, if you had hoped that, in a few minutes I did just that. I reminded all of us of our foundation by grace through faith and mentioned a portion of the free things we receive at the moment of salvation. And I also remind, that per the scripture, all of these free things, and all that newness that has happened to us, all of which is the life of Christ, has come with the calling to live it out now in time, in the face and in the midst of all the opposition that forges itself against it, fighting the good fight, taking hold of eternal life, not growing weary or losing heart, fixing our eyes on Jesus, running the race set before us, buffeting our body and making it our slave, laying aside every encumbrance and the sin that so easily entangles us, walking in a manner worthy of our calling, being imitators of God in love, being perfect as our Father is perfect, holy as He is holy, and doing all the good work He has designed us to do and predetermined that we should walk in them. It is a life of complete dedication. It is a life completely dependent upon the Holy Spirit within. It is the life of heaven, the life of Christ, and the only real human life, the only one to survive the rebellious world of darkness, and continue on when the light of Christ is the only source of light. When the intense luminescence of the light of Christ shines on a life, it is the only one to survive.
Being the only real human life, the miracle is that it is normal. Christ’s kingdom being the only one to survive, is the only normal one.
All kingdoms come and go. God has allowed many of these kingdoms to be built on greed, lust, and violence, for example: Nineveh (Assyria: approximately 900-600 BC).
Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage;
Her prey never departs.
2 The noise of the whip,
The noise of the rattling of the wheel,
And bounding chariots!
3 Horsemen charging,
Swords flashing, spears gleaming,
Many slain, a mass of corpses,
And countless dead bodies —
They stumble over the dead bodies!
4 All because of the many harlotries of the harlot,
The charming one, the mistress of sorceries,
Who sells nations by her harlotries
And families by her sorceries.
5 "Behold, I am against you," declares the Lord of hosts;
"And I will lift up your skirts over your face,
And show to the nations your nakedness
And to the kingdoms your disgrace.
This is given to us in contrast to God’s kingdom which was founded on love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that love would bring to all mankind. The life we have been given, the life we are called to live now, is a product of this love. How could it in any way be bad or unworthy or undoable, or anything other than wonderful?
Before our resurrection, the redemption of our bodies, God’s kingdom is now lived in the heart. It is not founded on show or ritual, but revealed from within in love, kindness, grace, etc.
With what shall I come to the Lord
And bow myself before the God on high?
Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
7 Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams,
In ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8 He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness [our reward LUK 6:35],
And to walk humbly with your God?
Human history is filled with tribes and nations elevating themselves and using violence to take what they want resulting in the death of the innocent. This is so prevalent that we have a day like tomorrow to celebrate the memorial of those who took up arms, left their families and comforts, and knowingly risked their lives and gave their lives to stop the oppressor from reaching their homes, their home country, and their loved ones and neighbors, and in our nation, to preserve the freedom so precious and beloved by a people who began their journey on an idea of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Yet in the scales of history, no amount of fallen heroes will ensure our lives and freedom. One fallen Hero has done that, and He is the example to us all of what love and life really are. The tribes and nations that choose wickedness and violence to get worldly possessions, slaves, and land have only perished, and that by another aggressor, reaping what they have sown. But Christ’s kingdom, and all the saints within it, will endure forever because of His love. His love conquered all enemies of good, both human and angelic.
LUK 6:20-26: Blessed are you who hunger, weep, are hated for His sake. All things in our lives are under God’s authority. We never seek our own way.
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way. 32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.
Vs. 34 “what (humin) you?”
MAT 5:47 “what (perissos) superabundant/extraordinary”
Jesus asks: “What are you?”
Matthew: “If you greet your brothers only.”