If They Only Knew

MARCH 15

MATTHEW 5:21_Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time…

I don’t believe there is happenstance in anything Jesus says including the order in which He teaches. Let’s take a look at Jesus’ style of order.

The sermon began with the attitudes and life styles that cause you to be blessed. It transferred to the purpose of the blessed – to be salt and light in the world. Next, Jesus made clear He was not about the destruction of the Law, but its fulfillment.

Some in the multitude listening to this sermon were only there to make Jesus out to be a heretic. Those particular ones may not have liked Jesus teaching He was not there to destroy the Law. Being for the Law might make it appear Jesus was on their side. They did not want that!

Jesus proceeded on in His sermon and discredited the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Oh, my! To be sure some fits were thrown! They aren’t about to stand for that!

The Scribes and Pharisees begin to become a bit antsy. They have no way to know what Jesus will teach. To be in control of religious teaching was everything to the Scribes and Pharisees. And Jesus was not in their clique.

If they only knew. Jesus is about to transform the Law!

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Help me listen to Your teachings with my heart. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                                             

  Christ’s teachings are perfect—I need to learn them!

The Prime Example

FEBRUARY 1

MATTHEW 5:11_Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you  

Jesus is consistent to connect blessings with eight characteristics. Christians call these characteristics beatitudes. If you’re going to have an attitude, have a beatitude!

The result of each characteristic is to be blessed, translated as happy, or fortunate

These are not earthly blessings given by earthly people (who could also take them away). These are spiritual, supernatural blessings. Nothing in this life can take away the love, joy, peace, or faith which comes from being blessed by God.

What does it mean to be reviled? It is to be harshly criticized. To be spoken to in great anger. It is a painful experience stinging long after the verbal abuse. 

As in the previous teachings, Jesus does not say we will be blessed if we are reviled for dishonest, immoral, or deceitful behavior. The blessings of Jesus’ promises are for the pain experienced for doing what is right and being reviled for it. 

There are examples of people in the Bible who experienced just that. The prime example is the Lord Jesus Christ.

 PRAYER

Holy Christ, Thank You for teaching me the truth through the Bible. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.               

Christ was reviled for the truth—May I be as strong!

That Same Kingdom

JANUARY 31

MATTHEW 5:10_for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

If the kingdom of heaven is something a little more earthly, than heavenly, we can experience it before death. 

When Jesus walked on earth, the kingdom of heaven was all around Him. After His ascension to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. The Spirit leads us into that same kingdom. At His return, He will bring a new Kingdom with Him.

We should be excited about living in the kingdom of heaven. Never forget, it is a reward for the poor in spirit and the persecuted. Only Christians will find the path. They won’t find it by trying to be and do good. They will find it by allowing the Holy Spirit to teach them how to love – God first then each other.

Jesus told us in John 15:20 (KJV), “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

This kind of righteousness comes with a high price. It also comes with a high reward – walking in the kingdom of heaven, in a fallen and sinful world.

The apostle John said in I John 4:17 (KJV),because as he is, so are we in this world.”

 If Jesus did it, so can we!

 PRAYER

Dear Jesus, I believe I can be like You. Help me find the way! In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is still alive—As He is so will I be!

The Righteousness Train

JANUARY 30

MATTHEW 5:10_Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake:

One key element of persecution is to be sure you are persecuted for righteousness sake, not your own sake. The quality of discernment will help you know. You have already learned to discern if your peacemaking succumbs to political correctness. Political correctness is to agree with the world’s ways over God’s ways because it is the popular thing. Now you discern if you have strayed from the righteous path, and are suffering for it.

Everyone thinks they are righteous. To board the Righteousness Train requires a Bible ticket. Those trusting in and building lives upon the Bible have purchased a ticket. If you become too self-assured you have a seat on the Train, you can easily fall into the Pit of Pride. Hungering and thirsting leads you to the ticket office.

Righteousness is a byproduct of loving Jesus and His words. It comes naturally when you draw into a closer relationship with Jesus. You cannot make yourself become righteous. Only God can make you righteous. Only God holds the standard to what righteousness is. No one can live up to that standard. The Holy Spirit leads you there. Actually you won’t even know you’re there unless you begin to suffer for doing what is right. That is your clue. If you become too smug in the fact you made it – you can fall back to where you were.

You can only claim it in Jesus’ name, never your own.

 PRAYER

Dear God and Father of All, I want to be righteous in You, not in myself – lead me there. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                     

Christ is righteousness—He makes me righteous!

For the Sake of Righteousness

JANUARY 29

MATTHEW 5:10_Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

No one wants to be persecuted, for any reason – even righteousness. But if we are, let’s hope we respond as the Apostles after they were beaten for teaching the words of Jesus. Acts 5:41 (KJV), “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.

Jesus says we’re blessed if we are persecuted. He says the reward is the same as for those who are poor in spirit – the kingdom of heaven. I still see this reference to the kingdom of heaven as something we attain in this life. There is a difference. We do not experience the kind of perfection in the earthly kingdom as we will in the eternal heavenly kingdom. But we can experience the power of walking free in our spirit and overpowering fear, in this kingdom of heaven. 

I hope I appreciate persecution when it causes me to become a part of the kingdom of heaven. I know I will suffer persecution as a part of God’s kingdom in this life.

I must take heed to the reason Jesus says I will be persecuted – for the sake of righteousness.

 PRAYER

Dear Savior, I ask You to help me be alert to righteousness in this sinful world. Help me stand for it and live it out in my life daily. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is the kingdom of heaven—I want to live in Him!