#Matthew 5:6

HOW WE MUST WANT GOD

Matthew 5:6

INTRODUCTION

To a certain extent just about every person we know “wants God.” Some want God to get them out of a jam. Others want God to give them money, success, things, even health. They really don’t want God, they want what God can give them.

The testimonials for God’s “great giving ability” are legion. The Christian bookstore shelves are filled with autobiographies of how God gave them a house, a home, a job, talent, good looks, etc. Interestingly, Job’s autobiography, written while he was on the ash heap, would not be a best seller – not even if he gave the buyer a baggie with ashes in it!

Let us now draw ourselves away from this crowd of successful, beautiful people and consider one small important question: Is this how God wants us to seek Him?

This crowd of successful, beautiful people seem never to quote our text. They spend very little time writing on the subject of righteousness. Likewise, nowhere in the Sermon on the Mount, which is the heart of the Christian life, does Jesus refer to beauty, success or things as does today’s upbeat modern Christian.

When all the noise, busy work and dust of today’s “successful” Christianity settles one question persistently plagues us: Do we want the things associated with God or do we want God?

THEME: IF WE WANT GOD:

I. WE MUST WANT HIM THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

     A. Definition Of Righteousness

          1. Conformity with God’s holy law

         2. Conformity with God’s will

     B. It Describes The Craving To Know More Of Him

NOTE: How we act when we are in love with a person, parent

          1. To he more like Him

          2. To live a pure life

          3. To have a purity of desire and life

     C. Isaiah Equates Righteousness With Salvation

NOTE: Read vs. 6 – substitute “salvation” for “righteousness”

T.S. IF WE WANT GOD:

          I. WE MUST WANT HIM THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

II. WE MUST WANT GOD THROUGH A HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

     A. Hunger And Thirst

          1. Common phrase in all languages

          2. The most demanding of all the appetite

NOTE: “Do” – present participle

          3. Basic expression of any strong desire

NOTE: A common saying, ”I want that so much I can taste it”

     B. Hunger

          1. The secret to spiritual growth is a spiritual appetite

               a. Those who eat little, grow little; eat much, grow much

               b. Loss of spiritual appetite is a symptom of the most serious situation a child of God can face

NOTE: Anorexia – phobia of gaining weight

          2. The self-righteous person does not have this hunger

               a. To believe oneself in possession of righteousness, like the Pharisee, is fatal

               b. He has the most need of righteousness who least wants it   Puritan Quote

          3. Those who hungered for wrong things

               a. Lucifer: like the most High

               b. Rich man: fared sumptuously

               c. Rich fool: Bigger barns

NOTE: There is nothing wrong with desire or ambition if for righteousness

     C. Thirst

          1. Spiritual thirst is a great virtue

               a. We must thirst for God

NOTE: As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2

               b. We will receive His refreshing

NOTE: For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring        Isaiah 44:3

          2. Our spiritual thirst will be quenched

               a. The water from Jesus

NOTE: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.      John 4:14

               b. The fountain of the water of life

NOTE: And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.         Revelation 21:6

     D. What This Craving Produces

          1. It creates within us priorities

          2. The desire grows, the need increases, the craving becomes more intense

          3. We need to crave righteousness like we crave food and water

          4. The greatest desire of our life and being: seeing to be like God

NOTE: The necessity of more spiritual tastes and appetites

T.S. IF WE WANT GOD:

          I. WE MUST WANT HIM THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

        II. WE MUST WANT GOD THROUGH A HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

III. WE MUST WANT HIM UNTIL WE ARE FILLED

     A. Definition Of Filling

          1. Describes the feeding and fattening of cattle

          2. To be absolutely filled

     B. Only Those Who Hunger And Thirst After Righteousness Will Be Filled

NOTE: For he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.     Psalm 107:9

          1. Not those who feel “something is wrong”

NOTE: Teen standing before open refrigerator but can’t decide what to eat.

          2. Not those who seek some “holy high”

NOTE: Person with a painful terminal cancer; operable – seeks to relieve pain, not the cause

     C. Filling Does Not Necessarily Mean Satisfaction

          1. When I came to Jesus I hungered and thirsted for His righteousness; now I know Him, I hunger and thirst more for Him Quote

          2. If a person does not hunger and thirst after righteousness, there is a question if he/she is even in the kingdom

          3. The prodigal son

               a. Hungered: fed on husks

               b. Starved: went to his father

          4. Satisfaction will come when we see Him

NOTE: As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.    Psalm 17:15

CONCLUSION

IF WE WANT GOD:

I. WE MUST WANT HIM THROUGH RIGHTEOUSNESS

II. WE MUST WANT GOD THROUGH A HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS

III. WE MUST WANT HIM UNTIL WE ARE FILLED

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#Matthew 5:7

THIS THING CALLED MERCY

Matthew 5:7

INTRODUCTION

As children we knew what mercy was, though maybe not by that name. We would get in a wrestling match and either someone would pin us down or we would pin them down. In our child hood language we used the equivalent of mercy by saying, “Say Uncle.

What humility there was in saying “uncle!” By saying that unspeakable word we were acknowledge several things:

     a. We were beaten

     b. We no longer could protect or help ourselves

     c. Someone was stronger than us

We all have, are, and will experience the need of saying “uncle”, that is to say, “mercy.”

But since it is more blessed to give than to receive, we need to know how to give mercy. It is easy for every one of us to give judgment and receive mercy. It is something else for us to receive judgment and give mercy.

Do we really know what mercy is? Do we really know how to administer mercy? As Christians we must know if we are to have the right relation

THEME: IF WE WANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS:

I. WE MUST KNOW MERCY

     A. Mercy Is Not To Be A Conduct But A Characteristic Of Us

          1. Not something we should strive to do

NOTE: Not a work of righteousness

          2. What we are – merciful

               a. Our attitude

               b. Our character

     B. Mercy is not:

          1. Indifference

         2. Sentimentalism

     C. Mercy Is Intelligent Sympathy Based Upon Righteousness

          1. A “gracious” act instead of emotion

          2. The parable of the good Samaritan

NOTE: And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. Luke 10:37

          3. To give help, to rescue those in need

     D. Mercy Implies A Desire To Remove The Evil Or Bad Condition

          1. Of the guilty

          2. Of the suffering

          3. Of the needy

T.S. IF WE WANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS:

          I. WE MUST KNOW MERCY

II. WE MUST GIVE MERCY

NOTE: We hand folks over to God’s mercy and show none ourselves           George Eliot

NOTE:  Verses 3-6 are Godward and contrasts

Verses 7-11 are others-ward and reaping the same

     A. In The Old Testament Mercy Denotes An Attitude Arising Out Of A Mutual Relationship

          1. Oneness with another

               a. Parent-child

               b. Brother-sister

               c. Family

NOTE: Identifying with the person’s problem

          2. Forgiveness is inherent in the meaning of mercy

               a. Kindly feeling and kindly act

               b. A forgiving spirit toward the sinner

NOTE: Even when the sin is not directed toward us cf. Parable of the Fig Tree (four years of mercy)

NOTE: Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

Luke 13:7-9

     B. God Requires Us To Give Mercy

          1. Be ye therefore merciful as your Father also is merciful                               Luke 6:36

          2. And what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?    Micah 6:8

          3. The wicked borroweth and payeth not again: but the righteous showeth mercy and giveth  Psalm 37:21

          4. He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he  Proverbs 14:21

     C. A New Testament Means Of Showing Mercy Is Through Alms

          1. “Alms” comes from the same Greek word as “mercy”

               a. Alms is any benevolent activity

               b. Always to those less fortunate

          2. Therefore when thou doest thine alms … But when thou doest alms … That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly            Matthew 6:2-4

          3. But rather give alms of such things as ye have       Luke 11:41

          4. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway        Acts 10:2

T.S. IF WE WANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS:

          I. WE MUST KNOW MERCY

        II. WE MUST GIVE MERCY

III. WE MUST RECEIVE MERCY

NOTE:  Therefore Blessed

          a. Not happy (based upon happenings)

          b. An unchangeable condition

     A. We Received Mercy Before Our Salvation

          1. … As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked: but that wicked turn from his way and live …    Ezekiel 33:11

          2. Who was before a blasphemer and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief

I Timothy 1:13

          3. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not  Lamentations 3:22

     B. We Received Mercy In Our Salvation

NOTE:  Christ demonstrated mercy by identifying with us

          1. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us  I Peter 1:3

          2. For us the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us            Psalm 103:11-12

          3. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us  Ephesians 2:4

     C. We Receive Mercy Now

          1. Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord; for His mercies are great  II Samuel 24:14

          2. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace in time of need         Hebrews 4:16

          3. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto Thee daily     Psalm 86:3

     D. We Have Mercy In Our Future

          1. The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh  Proverbs 11:17

          2. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever      Psalm 23:6

CONCLUSION

IF WE WANT TO HAVE THE RIGHT RELATIONSHIP TO OTHERS:

I. WE MUST KNOW MERCY

II. WE MUST GIVE MERCY

III. WE MUST RECEIVE MERCY

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#Matthew 5:8

THE PURE IN HEART

Matthew 5:8

INTRODUCTION

We have all heard of the advertisement for a soap that is 99 44/100% pure. Maybe it is fortunate they don’t tell us what the 56/100% is. At least the soap is pure enough it floats. So does scum.

In many respects we Americans are very purity conscious. We must use the right bleach No mouthwash is good unless it is a killer (of germs).

Were to God we were as purity conscious about what we allow in our minds and spiritual actions.

In this sixth beatitude, Jesus addresses this very subject of purity.

We would not even think of giving impure medicine or food to one of our children. But how much thought have we given to presenting ourselves, our families, our Sunday School class to God? Will we give Him an impure or pure gift?

THEME: WHEN WE ARE PURE IN HEART:

I. WE ARE PURE BEFORE GOD

     A. What Purity Is Before God

          1. “Purity is not an attractive connotation; it represents puritanical outmoded virtue. Purity seems flat, dull while a slight mixture of wickedness seems spicy and interesting.”

          2. Definition of pure

               a. Simple

               b. Unmixed

               c. Uncomplicated

              d. Behold Thou desireth truth in the inner parts Psalm 51:6

          3. The condition that gives us peace and access to God the Father

               a. Holiness emphasizes the Divine side

               b. Purity emphasizes the human side

NOTE: How can we tell if a person is holy? By their purity

     B. What God Does To Make Us Pure

          1. For then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent Zephaniah 3:9

          2. Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works Titus 2:1

NOTE: Our good works can manifest our purity

     C. How We Can Go About Seeking Purity From Him

          1. The words of the Lord are pure words; as sliver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times Psalm 12:6

          2. By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the Lord men depart from evil Proverbs 16:6

NOTE: From evil to purity

          3. Purge away our sins, for thy name’s sake Psalm 79:9

NOTE: Not for our good first; for His good

          D. The Consequences Of Rejecting His Purity

NOTE: Surely this iniquity shall not be purged from you till ye die, saith the Lord God of hosts       Isaiah 22:14

T.S. WHEN WE ARE PURE IN HEART:

          I. WE ARE PURE BEFORE GOD

II. WE ARE PURE BEFORE OTHERS

NOTE: It has been said that we have three temptations in religious service:

          a. To shine

          b. To whine

          c. To recline

     A. We Must Be Pure In Our Witnessing To The Lost

NOTE: Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men     Acts 20:26

     B. We Must Be Pure In Our Discipleship

          1. From first to last, Jesus sought to make His disciples wholly clean (pure) John 13:3-11

          2. Jesus works to sanctify the Church

NOTE: Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5:25-27

          3. We must be pure temples and bodies

NOTE: But sanctify the Lord in your hearts  I Peter 3:15

NOTE: Christ will not suffer any impurity in His temple

     C. We Must Be Pure In Our Love For Each Other

          1. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren I Peter 1:22

          2. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. I Timothy 4:12

T.S. WHEN WE ARE PURE IN HEART:

          I. WE ARE PURE BEFORE GOD

        II. WE ARE PURE BEFORE OTHERS

III. WE ARE PURE BEFORE OURSELVES

NOTE: Purity of soul cannot be lost without consent     St. Augustine

NOTE: Personal impurity soils the present, casts a shadow on the future, and brings remorse about the past   Clyde Narramore

     A. We Have To Purify Ourselves

          1. Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins: keep thyself pure. I Timothy 5:22

          2. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle… without hypocrisy James 3:17

          3. Sons of God … be like Him … every man that hath this hope … purifieth himself I John 3:2-3

          4. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God … by pureness II Corinthians 6:4,6

     B. We Have To Keep Ourselves Pure

          1. Whatsoever things are pure … think on these things Philippians 4:8

          2. Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure: but even their mind and conscience is defiled Titus 1:15

     C. We Have To Seek Cleansing

          1. … purging out all our sins and abominations if Christ, our Passover lamb is to reign I Corinthians 5:7

          2. … setting aside of shameful things II Timothy 2:21

          3. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure I John 3:3

CONCLUSION

WHEN WE ARE PURE IN HEART:

I. WE ARE PURE BEFORE GOD

II. WE ARE PURE BEFORE OTHERS

III. WE ARE PURE BEFORE OURSELVES

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#Matthew 5:9

THE PEACEMAKERS

Matthew 5:9

INTRODUCTION

We live in a world where peace is a scare commodity today. There is a lack of peace in so many places:

Between nations

Within nations

Between ethnic groups

Within ethnic groups

Between corporations

Within corporations

Between families

Within families

Between individuals

Within individuals

And because there is no peace within individuals there will be no peace elsewhere.

Since thirty-six years before Christ there have been 14,553 known wars. Since 1945 there have been some seventy-five wars and about two hundred internationally significant outbreaks of violence. Since 1958 about one hundred nations have been involved in some form of armed conflict

The Bible, in contrast, contains four hundred sixty nine direct references to peace, and many more indirect ones. The Bible begins with peace in the Garden of Eden and closes with peace in eternity.

Jesus is our peace. This is the number one truth to be found in the pages of the Word of God.

a. vs. 14 For he is our peace …

b. vs. 15 … so making peace;

c. vs. 17 And came and preached peace to you …

Ephesian 2:14-17

We now come to the first Beatitude where blessedness is given as the result of outward work.

THEME: WE WILL BE BLESSED WHEN:

I. WE WILL UNDERSTAND GOD’S PEACE

     A. The Kingdoms Of This World Rest On War And Conquest For Success

          1. Those who make war are the most distinguished citizens

          2. They are entitled to its highest honors

          3. In every age of history the greatest heroes have been the greatest warriors

          4. The world exalts the destructive

          5. The model man or woman is not meek but macho

     B. The Model Hero Of The World Is Not:

          1. Self-giving but self-seeking

          2. Generous but selfish

          3. Gentle but cruel

         4. Submissive but aggressive

         5. Meek but proud

     C. When Self Is First, Peace Is Last

          1. Self precipitates strife, division, hatred, resentment and war

          2. Self is the great ally of sin, the great enemy of righteousness and peace

               a. The great enemy of peace is sin

               b. Sin is the source of every conflict

          3. We do not have:

               a. Economic peace

               b. Religious peace

               c. Racial peace

               d. Social peace

               e. Family peace

               f. Personal peace

NOTE: Years ago the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that firefighters in Genoa, Texas, were accused of deliberately setting more than forty destructive fires. When caught, they stayed, “We had nothing to do. We just wanted to get the red lights flashing and the bells clanging.”

The job of firefighters is to put out fires, not start them. The job of Christians is to help resolve conflict, not start more of it.

NOTE:  These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:

A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,

An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,

A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 6:16-19

NOTE: For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 8:11-12

          3. There is no peace now because of two reasons

               a. The opposition of Satan

               b. The disobedience of people

NOTE: Peace has been defined as “that glorious moment in history when everyone stops to reload”

     D. The Biblical Definition Of Peace

          1. Shalom – Hebrew

          2. The absence of evil is desired in the person

          3. The well being of the person

          4. Seeking the highest good for the other person

T.S. WE WILL BE BLESSED WHEN:

          I. WE WILL UNDERSTAND GOD’S PEACE

II. WE LIVE AS PEACEMAKERS

NOTE: Jesus teaches contrary to the world. The most distinguished citizens of His kingdom are those who make peace

     A. Two Ways To “Make Peace”

          1. Practicing or cherishing it within ourselves

          2. Reconciling those who are at strife with themselves and with others

NOTE: Plutarch used this word of ambassadors commissioned to negotiate a peace

NOTE: God calls us to negotiate the peace lost at the Fall

     B. Characteristics Of A Peace Maker

          1. A peacemaker has made personal peace with God

          2. A peacemaker leads others to peace with God

          3. A peacemaker helps others make peace with others

     C. Two Directions Of Peace

          1. With God

          2. With others

     D. Peace Is More Than The Absence Of Conflict And Strife

          1. Peace is the presence of righteousness

          2. We can stop fighting without righteousness but we cannot live peacefully without righteousness

          3. Righteousness administers the healing of love

NOTE: A truce is a cold war

          4. God’s peace not only stops the hostilities but settles the issues and brings the parties together in mutual love and harmony

NOTE: But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.     James 3:17

          5. Peace that ignores the cleansing that brings purity is not God’s peace

T.S. WE WILL BE BLESSED WHEN:

          I. WE WILL UNDERSTAND GOD’S PEACE

         II. WE LIVE AS PEACEMAKERS

III. WE EXHIBIT THE FAMILY TRAITS

     A. Shall Be Called

          1. Verbal recognition

          2. Formal registration

NOTE: This may not take place until we get to heaven

     B. Called The Children Of God

          1. Not just be the children of God

          2. A family characteristic from God

          3. Mark of a saved person

NOTE: There is no more God-like work to be done in this world than peacemaking

     C. Peace Making Is A Hallmark Of God’s Children

          1. A person who is not a peacemaker either is not a Christian or a disobedient Christian

          2. The person who is continually disruptive, divisive and quarrelsome has good reason to doubt his / her relationship with God altogether

NOTE: A small church was noted for its affiliation with an exclusive “splinter” denomination. The members had cut out some gold letters and fastened them on the wall in front of the church The letters said, “JESUS ONLY.”

One day a gust of wind blew away the first three letters. the sign than read, more accurately: “US ONLY.”

          3. When we promote peace we enter into the very work of our Father

NOTE: Peace is not the absence of trouble. Peace is the presence of God.      Unknown

CONCLUSION

WE WILL BE BLESSED WHEN:

I. WE WILL UNDERSTAND GOD’S PEACE 

II. WE LIVE AS PEACEMAKERS

III. WE EXHIBIT THE FAMILY TRAITS

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#Matthew 5:10-12

ENDURING PERSECUTION

Matthew 5:10-12

INTRODUCTION

Every one of us experienced the school bully sometime in our school days. And probably every one of us asked, “Why is everyone always picking on me?” Good question. Was it because it is what we deserved? Maybe we were obnoxious or caustic. Maybe we needed to be brought down a notch or two. And maybe we were just handy.

Legislation will never stop bullies, whether in grade school, high school or in adulthood. Some psychologists say that many bullies were picked on and that is the only way they know how to relate to others. In this life bullies we will have with us always. We find them in our neighborhoods, in our schools, on our jobs (sometimes they are the boss), in our families and even, and unfortunately, in our churches.

In our passage Jesus is telling us to get ready for it. If we live the Christian life we will be persecuted. The operative phrase is “for righteousness’ sake.” Persecution has been defined as harassment or trouble that others deliver to us. In verse nine we learned about being peacemakers. But the world refuses to give peace to those who try to bring peace.

Several years ago a magazine took a survey to find out what made people happy. Three things came to light.

     a. People enjoy other people as long as they do not have to give anything to them, such as money, time, etc.

     b. People refuse to participate in any negative feeling or emotions.

     c. People have to have a sense of accomplishment based on their own self-sufficiency.

We, if we live for righteousness’ sake have to live by a different set of criteria.

     a. We have to give to others.

     b. We have to deal with negative feelings and emotions in others.

     c. We have to have a sense of accomplishment based on Christ-likeness.

Those who faithfully live the first seven beatitudes are bound to experience the eighth. And it is sad that so many Christians refuse to experience the eighth. This beatitude speaks of external things that happen to believers and they are often are not pleasant experiences.

THEME: WHY SHOULD WE ENDURE PERSECUTION?

I. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS vs. 10

NOTE: A man got a new job working with especially profane people. At the end of the first day his wife asked him how it went and he said, “Terrific! They never guessed I was a Christian.”

     A. We Must Expect To Be Persecuted

          1. There will be those who will want to drive us away

          2. There will be those who will pursue us in a hostile manner

          3. Because of our Christian testimony we can expect to be mistreated on account of something

               a. Some charges will be invented

NOTE: Those who hated Daniel invented a new law that said everyone could only pray to the king

               b. Some charges will be factual

NOTE: The three Jewish young men refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar

     B. Persecution Can Take The Form Of Injury

          1. To our name

          2. To our reputation

          3. To our life

          4. To our property

NOTE: A Biblical maxim – Those born of the flesh will persecute those born of the Spirit

NOTE: In the Roman Empire, once a year each citizen had to give a verbal oath of allegiance to Caesar by proclaiming, “Caesar is Lord.” Then the person was free to worship any other god or gods. Faithful Christians refused and suffered lose of property, work, imprisonment and death. One Roman poet spoke of them as those “whose only crime was Christ.”

NOTE: Whatever the world may take from us is more than made up by our heavenly possessions which no one can take from us

     C. We Are Pursued By Enemies Superior In The Powers Of This World

NOTE: Some of their powers

          a. Gossip

          b. Slander

          c. Lies

          d. Character assassination

          e. Physical force

          1. We are persecuted by those who see themselves superior to us

          2. We are a class of people unfitted to share in the honors of the kingdom of this world

     D. Christ’s Kingdom Is Not For The Candidates Of The World’s Kingdoms

          1. The rich

          2. The fierce

          3. The angry

          4. The full

          5. The cunning

          6. The warlike

          7. Favorites of earthly rulers

     E. The Candidates Of Christ’s Kingdom

          1. The poor

          2. The sorrowful

          3. The meek

          4. The hungry

          5. The sincere

          6. The peaceful

          7. The persecuted

          8. Those who have endured all for His sake

          9. Those who long for spiritual relief

NOTE: God says, Blessed are the poor in spirit

The world says, Blessed are the achievers

NOTE: God says, Blessed are those who mourn

The world says, Blessed are the self-fulfilled

NOTE: God says, Blessed are the meek

The world says, Blessed are the powerful, who fight for their way

NOTE: God says, Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness

The world says, Blessed are the unrestrained

NOTE: God says, Blessed are the merciful

The world says, Blessed are the manipulators

NOTE: God says, Blessed are the pure in heart

The world says, Blessed are the uninhibited, who can sin anytime

NOTE: God says, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake

The world says, Blessed are those who are expedient, who manipulate things to their advantage

     F. Righteousness Is Confrontational

          1. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. II Timothy 3:12

          2. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake Philippians 1:29

     G. For Theirs Is The Kingdom Of Heaven

           1. There are crowns

           2. Jesus does not refer to them

           3. He refers to all of heaven

           4. This is the evidence that we are saved

T.S. WHY SHOULD WE ENDURE PERSECUTION?

          I. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

II. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS vs. 11

     A. Blessed

          1. First time the second person plural is used

               a. They

               b. No longer “you”

               c. Previously, third person singular

          2. Continues throughout the rest of the sermon

          3. There comes a time in our Christian growth when we realize we are not in this along

NOTE: Some Christians never get to this place in their Christian life. They always see themselves as alone.

          a. God is with us

          b. Other Christians will stand with us

NOTE: This is why we need the local church

NOTE: The way to avoid persecution is obvious and easy. To live like the work, or at least to “live and let live,” will cost us nothing. To mimic the world’s standards, or never to criticize them, will cost us nothing. To keep quiet about the gospel, especially the truth that apart from its saving power men remain in their sins and are destined for hell, will cost us nothing. To go along with the world, to laugh at its jokes, to enjoy its entertainment, to smile when it mocks God and takes His name in vain, and to be ashamed to take a stand for Christ will not bring persecution. Those are the habits of sham Christians.

John MacArthur

     B. Persecution Takes Various Forms

          1. Reproach – heaping insult upon believers

          2. Slander – lying about a Christian

          3. Persecution in acts of hatred

     C. Persecution By Saying All Manner Of Evil

          1. Greek – poneros

          2. Evil things

               a. That others want to hear

               b. Giving self and other a superior feeling

          3. Full of annoyances, hardships

          4. Harassment

          5. Causing pain and trouble

     D. Their Sin Of Speaking Falsely

          1. To lie

          2. To speak deliberate falsehoods

          3. To deceive someone by a lie

NOTE: They did this to Jesus

          a. Called Him a Samaritan

          b. Said He was demon possessed

          c. Said He was mad

NOTE: Tertullian was approached by a man who said, “I have come to Christ, but I have a job that is not consistent with what Scripture teaches. What can I do? I must live.” To that Tertullian replied, “Must you?”

NOTE: To be prepared for kingdom life is to be prepared for loneliness, misunderstanding, ridicule, rejection and unfair treatment of every sort

T.S. WHY SHOULD WE ENDURE PERSECUTION?

          I. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

         II. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS

III. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF OUR REWARDS IN HEAVEN    vs. 12

     A. Our Christian Responsibility

          1. We do not retreat and hide

          2. To escape from the world is to escape our personal responsibility

     B. We Are To Rejoice

          1. Be glad

          2. Thrive

          3. An expression of supreme triumph or joy

               a. The opposite is depression and alarm

               b. To skip and jump with happy excitement

               c. Our gladness is never to leave us, no matter what the persecution

          4. We rejoice not in spite of our persecutions but because of our persecutions

          5. We are not to react like the world

               a. Not retaliate like an unbeliever

               b. Not sulk like a child

     C. Our Reward In Heaven Is Great

          1. Greek – Polus

          2. Many

     D. Our Reward

          1. Wages

               a. Compensation

               b. Dues paid for work

               c. The fruit naturally resulting from toil

          2. The burdens of this beatitude may be heavier but the reward is greater than all the above

NOTE: In peacetime promotion is slow; in war promotion is rapid. The same is in the Christian life. Dwight Eisenhower was a major on December 7, 1941. Within a few months we was a major general. Before 1945 was over he was the third five star general this country ever had.

          3. The wounds and hurts we receive are medals of honor

NOTE: The father of Bob Jones, Sr. was a Confederate veteran who carried a wound the rest of his life. Bob, Sr. jokingly said his father thought more of that wound than he did his kids.

     E. For So Persecuted

          1. One of the chief blessings of life is to be persecuted

          2. Many of the early Christians sought to become martyrs

               a. They threw themselves in the way of their persecutors that they may be put to death

               b. They believed that the martyr’s crown was the brightest crown in heaven

          3. God does not require us to seek persecution

          4. What we possess in persecution

               a. The consciousness of innocence

               b. The presence of God

NOTE: Stan Dale and Phil Masters tried to reach the Yali tribe in Indonesia with the Gospel. Their religion was one of the strictest in the world. For a tribe member to even question one of its tenets was to bring instant death.

For several years they were unsuccessful and incurred the resentment and hatred of the tribe. One day the tribe attacked a group of Christians. Stan and Phil stood their ground while the others fled. Each man remained standing even though each received about fifty arrows in their bodies. Finally they fell. The Yalis dismembered their bodies for fear of the resurrection but the “unreachable” tribe was reached. Ultimately the entire tribe got saved because of the stand of Stan Dale and Phil Masters.

Lords of the Earth by Don Richardson

CONCLUSION

WHY SHOULD WE ENDURE PERSECUTION?

I. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

II. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS

III. WE SHOULD ENDURE PERSECUTION FOR THE SAKE OF OUR REWARDS IN HEAVEN

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#Matthew 5:13

THE DESTINY OF SALT

Matthew 5:13

INTRODUCTION

Someone has said, “The only Bible some will ever read is us.” The key to our Christian life and testimony is one word – influence. And when we live our testimony those outside of Christ will not always like us. In the previous verses the world hates us and persecutes us. We do not reciprocate or respond back in the same way. We are to be salt and light. We are to be the opposite of the world. We are to do the opposite of the world

In this passage we see the first relationship of God’s people to mankind outside of Christ. As salt we have a purpose. But, as salt, we also face the possibility of failure and its necessary consequence.

As salt we give a service beyond ourselves. Salt is important in food. And the world cannot exist without food. The most obvious general characteristic of salt is that it is essentially different from the medium into which it is put. Its power lies precisely in this difference. Our power in the world lies in our difference from it. We are to be as different from others as the salt on a plate is different from the food into which it is placed.

THEME: WHAT ABILITIES HAS GOD GIVEN US?

I. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO MINISTER

     A. We Minister By Being The Salt Of The Earth

          1. Not the salt of heaven

          2. We are the salt where life gets dirty

          3. We are the salt where there is corruption and decay

          4. We are the salt where there is the tastelessness of the world

NOTE: Salt is among the most familiar and necessary substances employed in common life

     B. As Salt We Have Certain Characteristics

          1. Wisdom and grace exhibited in speech

               a. Wisdom

                   1) According to knowledge

                   2) Not how we feel about them

                   3) Not how they want us to feel

                   4) According to how the Bible tells us to treat them

                   5) In Christ’s stead

               b. Grace

                   1) We treat people as God treats us

                   2) We give them unmerited favor

                   3) Not what they deserve from us

                   4) Not what we can get out of them

                   5) What we can give them

          2. Salt is a symbol of improvement

          3. Salt with which food is seasoned

NOTE: Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.         Colossians 4:6

          4. A symbol or characteristic of Christians in society

               a. Salt has a peculiar taste of its own

               b. Utterly unlike anything else

     C. The Uses Of Salt

          1. Purity

               a. The Christian is an influence of purity in society

               b. To do that salt must come into contact with that which it is to preserve, but never an identical part of it

          2. Preservation

               a. Salt is not a food

               b. Salt is a preservative in a day without refrigeration

               c. Meat spoiled unless it was salted

               d. Salt has a negative connotation

               e. It combats deterioration

               f. We combat moral and spiritual decay

NOTE: To preserve that which is corruptible

          3. Flavor

               a. To season that, which is tasteless

                   1) Salt loses itself in service to the object that is being salted or preserved as flavor

                   2) When salt is added to food properly, it is not so that one can taste the salt, but so that the food itself tastes better

               b. We are not to live in isolation

                   1) We are to season Christians

                   2) We are to season the lost

               c. We are forming character for ourselves and others around us for now and eternity

               d. Our role in society is not to be against it so much as it is to enrich or purify the social order, making it more truly a realm of blessing for humanity

               e. That is why people are called, “The salt of the earth”

NOTE: Woodrow Wilson told the story of being in a barbershop one time. “I was sitting in a barber chair when I became aware that a powerful personality had entered the room. A man had come quietly in upon the same errand as myself to have his hair cut and sat in the chair next to me. Every word the man uttered, though it was not in the least didactic, showed a personal interest in the man who was serving him. And before I got through with what was being done to me I was aware I had attended an evangelistic service, because Mr. D. L. Moody was in that chair. I purposely lingered in the room after he had left and noted the singular affect that his visit had brought upon the barbershop. They talked in undertones. They did not know his name but they knew something had elevated their thought, and I felt that I left that place as I should have left a place of worship.”

NOTE: Salt makes people thirsty

          a. For water

          b. Spiritually, for the Water Of Life

          4. Wealth

               a. Roman soldiers were often paid in salt

               b. “He is not worth his salt” was a saying in the Roman military of a soldier who did not work or carry his part of the load

               c. From the Latin we get our word, “salary”

NOTE: There is nothing more useful than sun and salt  Roman proverb

T.S. WHAT ABILITIES HAS GOD GIVEN US?

          I. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO MINISTER

II. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO FAIL

     A. But If

          1. There resides the possibility of failure in

               a. Our testimony

               b. Our service

               c. Our power

NOTE: It is tragic when the power fails and someone freezes to death; it is eternally tragic when a Christian’s power fails and someone goes to hell

          2. The real sin

               a. Not in failure

               b. In refusing to:

                   1) Repent

                   2) Get up

                   3) Start over

NOTE: Wherewith shall it be salted? What salts salt?

     B. We Can Lose Our Savor (Taste)

          1. Our taste for eternal life

          2. Our zest for eternal life

          3. When we lose our savor:

               a. We act foolishly

               b. We are tasteless in our life and actions

               c. We lose our spiritual strength and flavor

NOTE: Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools  Romans 1:22

     C. We Become Good For Nothing

NOTE: This evil people, which refuse to hear my words, which walk in the imagination of their heart, and walk after other gods, to serve them, and to worship them … which is good for nothing.  Jeremiah 13:10

          1. Instead of being a force for God, we become a stimulus for ridicule of God, the things of God and His people

          2. Instead of being used in the service of God we are no longer usable

          3. Instead of exerting power to do extraordinary deeds for God we are helpless

          4. Instead of having the strength to overcome sin, we are overcome by sin

NOTE: … And he knew not that the LORD was departed from him.    Judges 16:20

T.S. WHAT ABILITIES HAS GOD GIVEN US?

          I. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO MINISTER

        II. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO FAIL

III. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO BECOME WORTHLESS

     A. Salt Consists Of Two Elements: Salt And Earth

          1. We consist of two elements

               a. Spiritual

               b. Earthly

          2. If we become carnal, the earthly overcomes the spiritual, then we lose our saltiness

NOTE: Are we salt to the world around us or are we dirt?

NOTE: So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.   Romans 8:8

     B. When We No Longer Can Be Used Of God In This World We Are Cast Out

          1. Greek – ballo

               a. To scatter

               b. To throw or let go of a thing without caring where it falls

NOTE: And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.      Revelation 20:15

          2. Out

               a. Away

               b. Out of doors

               c. Away from:

                   1) Protection

                    2) Use

                   3) Productivity

     C. When We Are Cast Out We Will Be Walked On By The World

NOTE: Trodden under foot of men

          1. Not so much an act of stepping purposely on

          2. An act ignoring where the foot steps

          3. What should be of value

               a. Has no value

               b. Has no attention

               c. Has no purpose

              d. Is ignored

              e. Good for nothing

NOTE: Not only is it good for nothing itself, but it actually destroys all fertility of what it touches. Thrown in the street, not in the field.

NOTE: There is bitter truth also in the fact that a saltless and powerless Christianity makes more unbelievers than all the books ever written by infidels

CONCLUSION

WHAT ABILITIES HAS GOD GIVEN US?

I. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO MINISTER

II. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO FAIL

III. GOD HAS GIVEN US THE ABILITY TO BECOME WORTHLESS

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#Matthew 5:14-16

OUR BEST

Matthew 5:14-16

INTRODUCTION

One of the scariest things for most of us to do in our Christian life is to witness. The thought of having to explain salvation and the Bible to a person without Christ paralyzes many. Yet Jesus says that there is something far more powerful than our talk; it is our walk.

There is nothing secretive about the Christian commitment or way of life. We must live in a spirit of openness and honesty. Nowhere in the pages of the Bible do we find a call to retreat from life. Rather, we are called to be a witness in our life to those outside of Christ who are around us. Remember, our best witness is in our walk before it is in our talk. Whatever hope this world has in the Christian and the Savior Who is coming.

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12

THEME: OUR BEST TESTIMONY IS WHEN WE:

I. WITNESS TOGETHER vs. 14

     A. Are

          1. Our witnessing is not something that we expect to do someday in the future

          2. Our witnessing is not something we attain in the future

               a. Our witness is in the present tense

               b. No new qualifications are needed

NOTE: We must get the right perspective

          a. Not, we have the light

          b. We are the light

     B. We Are The Light

          1. Greek – phos

          2. Biblical definition

               a. Of truth and its knowledge with the spiritual purity associated with it

               b. That which is exposed to the view of all, openly, publicly

               c. The power of understanding especially moral and spiritual truth

               d. Without Christ people live in a sinful gloom, darkness

NOTE: The contrast with salt

          a. Salt must be applied to tasteless lives; light must be seen where people live

          b. Salt works in secret; light works publicly

          c. Salt works on one person at a time; light can work on any number at the same time

          3. The light dispels darkness simply by being present

          4. We are not to curse the darkness; we are to be the light

     C. We Are The Only Light Of The World

          1. The inhabitants of the earth

          2. The human race

          3. The ungodly multitude

          4. The whole mass of people alienated from God

               a. Some are hostile to the cause of Christ

               b. Some are ignorant to the promises of Christ

               c. All need Him

          5. Light of the world

               a. Among the Jews only the greatest rabbis were called this

               b. Every saved person is now one

     D. We Are A City Set On A Hill

          1. There is not just one candle in a city on a hill

               a. Collectively people in the valleys see many candles that make up a city

               b. The more candles, the more light, the greater the distance to be seen

          2. Set on a hill

               a. Designed to be seen

                   1) The higher the hill

                   2) The greater the distance to be seen

                   3) The better to be seen in the deepest valley

               b. We are to be a conspicuous as we can be in our testimony for Christ

     E. We Cannot Be Hid

          1. The Greek word for “cannot” includes the word for dynamite, dunamai

               a. Be able to do something

               b. Capable, strong and powerful

               c. Have power by virtue of one’s own ability and resources

               d. State of mind

NOTE: And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.  Luke 18:26

          2. Hid

               a. Escape notice

               b. Conceal so that it may not become known

T.S. OUR BEST TESTIMONY IS WHEN WE:

          I. WITNESS TOGETHER

I. WITNESS THROUGH OUR CHURCH vs. 15

NOTE: Both salt and light refer to ordinary household habits

     A. Our Witness Is Not To Be Under A Bushel

          1. A candle is not lit so it can be hid

          2. If put under a bushel it will run out of oxygen

          3. Then get smoky and dirty everything around it

          4. Then go out

          5. Or, it will consume the bushel

     B. Our Witness Is To Be On A Candlestick

          1. Our most effective witness is through the

          2. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches. Revelation 1:20

          3. The greatest strength of our witness is through the ministry of the local church

               a. Together we produce more light

               b. Together we can preserve the fruit of the harvest of souls better

          4. The ministry of the church

               a. Worship

               b. Education

               c. Fellowship

NOTE: If a light cannot be seen, then it might as well not exist. We should never wish to not be observed.

NOTE: The lamp never lights itself. It takes a greater power than the lamp to light it.

     C. The Light Does Not Choose Who Shall See It – All

          1. The light never knows what it will touch

               a. Each

               b. Everyone

               c. Everything

              d. Individually

          2. The light is for those who are blinded in ignorance of God’s help

               a. Folly

               b. Fickleness

               c. Flighty

               d. Nonsense

               e. Rashness

               f. Thoughtlessness

NOTE: Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.   John 8:12

NOTE: If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth       I John 1:6

T.S. OUR BEST TESTIMONY IS WHEN WE:

          I. WITNESS TOGETHER

      II. WITNESS THROUGH OUR CHURCH

III. WITNESS SO GOD GETS THE CREDIT vs. 16

     A. Let Your Light

          1. An imperative

          2. A command

          3. Not a matter of choice

          4. A matter of obligation

NOTE: Notice the progression

          a. vs. 14 You – group

          b. vs. 15 men – impersonal

          c. vs. 16 your – you, personal; this is an individual responsibility

          5. As people use lights in their dark houses we are to use our light in this dark world

     B. So Shine Before Men

NOTE: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. Titus 3:8

          1. Before

               a. In front of a person

               b. In the presence of

               c. In the sight of

          2. People must see us

               a. People do not profit by our Christianity if we do not let them see us

               b. A general rule – we must do our good works so others can see us work

               c. A job requirement of every Christian – to build a reputation for God

     C. That They May See Our Good Works

          1. Good

               a. Admirable

               b. Noble

               c. Useful

          2. Not just morally good

               a. Morally beautiful

               b. Our works must be beautiful

               c. We must attract the admiring attention of others

NOTE: Song – Something Beautiful

          3. There is a truth we must never forget

               a. People are not saved by good abstract truth

               b. People are saved by good truth embodied in:

                   1) Our bodies

                   2) Our attitudes

                   3) Our lives

NOTE: Story of friend trying to be sold a product in order to help him. Seller’s wife was ill and would not use it.

NOTE: How much harm we do by our inconsistencies; how much good we may do by simply being what we profess to be

     E. The Goal Of Our Witnessing – So Others Will Glorify God

          1. Glorify

               a. Original meaning – opinion

               b. To think

               c. Have an opinion

               d. Hold in honor

               e. Magnify God’s excellence

               f. Not call attention to our selves; call attention to God

          2. We must shine in such beauty that people shall recognize that we are shining with a light greater than ourselves

NOTE: In 1715 Louis XIV of France died. He called himself “the Great.” His funeral was spectacular. His body lay in a golden coffin. To dramatize the deceased king’s greatness, orders had been given that the cathedral should be very dimly lighted, with only one special candle set above his coffin. Thousands waited in hushed silence. Then Bishop Massillon began to speak. Slowly reaching down, he snuffed out the candle, saying, “Only God is great!”

          3.We defeat the very purpose of our existence when we

               a. Conceal our light

               b. Withhold our light

NOTE: The effect of an eclipse

          a. One minute the moon shines in glory

          b. Then a shadow comes over it

NOTE: The same with Christians

          a. One minute shining for Jesus

          b. Then sin comes between them and Jesus

          c. They are now in darkness

NOTE: A light bulb only works when it is connected to the powerhouse

NOTE: Francois Fenelon was a noted godly Christian in his day. A religious skeptic was compelled to spend the night in an inn with Fenelon. The next morning the skeptic hurried away was heard commenting, “If I spend another night with that man I’ll be a Christian in spite of myself.”

CONCLUSION

OUR BEST TESTIMONY IS WHEN WE:

I. WITNESS TOGETHER

I. WITNESS THROUGH OUR CHURCH

III. WITNESS SO GOD GETS THE CREDIT

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