An Ultimatum

DECEMBER 30

MATTHEW 7:29_and not as the Scribes.

Jesus’ authority came from His Father in Heaven. We need earthly authority during our days in this world, but ultimate authority reigns in heaven.

The Scribes and Pharisees craved…no…the better word is lusted, for power and authority and for admiration and respect. They wanted exactly what Jesus had.

Admiration and respect encourage and build up those in authority. When the authority desires to place fear in those they rule, respect becomes an ultimatum. It does not administer love.  Remember, sometimes love is administered with a firm hand. Since the people were astonished by Jesus’ kind of teaching, and saw it as totally different from the Scribes’ teaching—they obviously had not been administered love by their authorities. Their respect must have been more of an ultimatum. 

Jesus’ teachings led to truth and freedom. It gave the people answers to their struggles and created freedom in their souls.

This authority loves.

The Scribes’ teachings led to fear and bondage. The people feared the consequences if they rejected their teachings. It created bondage of the soul.

This authority oppresses.

 PRAYER

Good Shepherd, I respect and admire You because You give love to me! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.          

Christ has the ultimate authority—He uses it to love me!

That Good and Better

OCTOBER 22

MATTHEW 7:13_Enter ye in at the strait gate…

Your world entry – you are born. Your adulthood entry – you make decisions for yourself.

There is always some form of authority—first and foremost God’s. When parents no longer pick you up, take you places, or make decisions for you – it is time to spread your wings and fly!

Jesus wants you to enter this new (adult) life through the strait gate. You’ve heard about the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? God has something that good and better through the strait gate. 

Jesus has not quite completed His sermon, but everything He has taught thus far leads to the right path. By the time you reach the end of this sermon, you will have uncovered an extremely large treasure (and this is only three chapters out of the entire Bible!).

John 14:2-5 (KJV), “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?”

Thomas wasn’t sure about the way. Jesus’ says it’s the strait gate!

PRAYER

Eternal God, I want to enter in at the strait gate. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                 

Christ is the strait gate—He will lead me!

Be Grateful!

OCTOBER 10

MATTHEW 7:10_Or if he ask…

If you’ve been disobedient and disrespectful to your father, expect him to discipline you—and be grateful for it! If your earthly father has been disobedient and disrespectful to the Heavenly Father, he can expect the same … from the Father!

An earthly father’s discipline comes directly from the Heavenly Father. It is painfully designed to restore a lost relationship. This is a time for you to be patient and compassionate. This is not a time to gloat or have any pleasure in your father’s chastisement (or anyone else you see under God’s disciplinary rod). And there is never a time in life for you to have any kind any kind of superiority attitude toward your father. In the first place, you don’t know what God is up to, or His ultimate plan … which may involve you! 

Only those in authority should administer judgment. You are not in an authoritative position, your father is. Your father is under the authority of God and you are under the authority of them both. Trust God to do what is best for your father. Trust Him to teach your father to do what is best for you.

If you have a father who would give you a stone when you ask bread, find a Christian leader you can confide in to help you. 

PRAYER

Loving Father, Help me be respectful and obedient to my authorities. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

Christ wants me respectful and obedient—He helps me!

The Bottom Line

SEPTEMBER 21

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Jesus knew two things in the incident of the woman taken in adultery. He knew the condition of her heart now, and in her past. He knew the circumstances which led to this incident at this time. We can’t expect our earthly authorities to know all of this, but the Holy Spirit can reveal truth. Besides the fact that He knew her heart, Jesus had the ability to read her heart in her facial expressions and body language. 

There was something else Jesus knew – the hearts of the Scribes and Pharisees who brought her before Him. He knew more about them than they knew about each other, or even about themselves. Remember John 8:5-6 (KJV), “ ‘Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such [adulterers] should be stoned: but what sayest thou?’ This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him …”

Jesus understood the real purpose for the Scribes and Pharisees bringing the woman. It had nothing to do with justice of the Law. It had nothing to do with adultery.  The bottom line was to bring Jesus down. At the time this occurred, Jesus was in the temple teaching. The Pharisees’ goal was to cause Jesus to look ignorant before the multitude of followers who sat at His feet.

If Jesus were a true God-fearing Jew, He would uphold the Law. If He didn’t enforce the Law, then everyone in the temple that day would know Jesus was a heretic.

We’re not finished with this subject yet!

PRAYER

Father God, Help me become discerning of the hearts of others. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                                                                                              

 Christ knows true hearts from false—He helps mine!

Pray for Them!

SEPTEMBER 20

MATTHEW 7:5_Thou hypocrite…

Here’s the question: Did Jesus condone adultery by saving the woman? Did He let her get by (meaning no judgment or accountability) with adultery?

Getting by with something is not really what Jesus is about. Surely by now you know what Jesus is about – freedom! To get by with something will not free you from repeating it. 

If you are truly allowing the Holy Spirit to guide you on the path to freedom and you stumble, don’t be discouraged – you will be freed. Proverbs 24:16 (KJV), “‘For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief [Hebrew translation is: evil].”

The difference in the one who rises back up and the one who falls deeper into evil is that heart condition. The ability to see all sin is against God and the desire to be changed by His grace. There is a word for this condition – repent. To sincerely and deeply grieve over your path and strongly desire to change directions.   

The Bible teaches to pray for those in authority – all forms of authority. There is a need for authorities to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to be receptive to the Spirit’s leading.

You want your authorities to have wise judgment concerning you.

Pray for them!     

I haven’t answered those first two questions yet – stay with me!

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, Fill all those in my authority with Your Holy Spirit. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ knows my heart condition—He will reveal it!