“Be Perfect - Love Your Enemies”
I suspect that most of us did not see this one coming.
Another “you have heard/but I say”…
Not only are we to love our neighbor...something which even the unbeliever does...but, we are to love our enemies.
We are to love those who oppose.
We are to love those who persecute us.
We are to pray for them.
The Lord seems to be releasing this Word to many...pray for your opponents, pray for your enemies, pray for those who seek to destroy you/community/nation, pray for your competitors.
So that we may be like Father in heaven.
God causes the sun/rain to fall upon the evil and the good, the unrighteous and righteous.
We are called to be perfect as Father is perfect.
Note the commandments…
- love your enemies
- do good
- lend, expecting nothing in return
- be merciful, even as Father is merciful
- be kind to ungrateful and evil people
Your reward will be great.
You will be sons of the Most High.
Here we are dealing with a heart issue.
The Law allowed for “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Comparable restitution for harm.
But, there is a difference between the Law and what the Lord stated.
Again, you “have have heard” but “I say to you”...
What is the motivation of the heart?
If revenge/retaliation is the goal, then we are not to participate.
If greed to retain that which “is ours” is the motivation, reject such.
This is not a call to a “milquetoast” existence.
The balance of the Word reveals that there is a time to stand firm and resist evil.
But, there is a need for a heart that loves and is concerned for others.
Walk in the humility and love of the Lord.
Watch what He does.
We as Believers are clearly told to make no “oaths”, to swear not.
Rare is the Believer that applies this.
I know from personal experience what can happen with such.
When appearing in a legal situation to testify to character I was asked to “raise my hand and swear.” I refused based upon this Word and knowledge of what our society’s law says. Our law allows for “swear and/or affirm.” I told them that I would not swear but that I would “affirm”. I affirm that my yes is yes, my no is no.
It was interesting to watch the reaction and subsequent ad hominem attack of opposing counsel.
Adhering to the Word of the Lord will precipitate some interesting things.
Determine before hand to not make an oath.
Determine to live in a manner where your yes is yes and your no is no.
Jesus continues His “you have heard it said/but I say” teaching.
Jesus confronts a subject that was of tremendous debate in His day...and today.
Jesus acknowledges that the Law forbade adultery (and resulting corollary of divorce), but Jesus then gives more insight.
If someone looks upon another with “desire” then they have committed adultery in their heart.
Jesus continues to reveal the “heart issue” that is the basis of sin.
He then tells them in rhetorical hyperbole to rid oneself of that which is the cause of sin.
Jesus does “allow” for divorce in the case of immorality/infidelity, yet few recognize that it is an allowance. Not a command.
Too often, believers use this allowance as a “get outta jail free” card rather than doing that which the Lord desires...repentance, forgiveness.
By the way, if you are reading the varied translations linked, did you note anything interesting in the NET?
Jesus acknowledges that the Law told “the ancients” ‘do not murder.’
We see a pattern of how Jesus was presenting some truths…
“You have heard...but I say”.
He was not negating the Law. He was fulfilling.
He was building on the Law.
Jesus equates murder with anger.
Even the mouthing of words will cause one to be guilty unto fiery hell.
Jesus tells us to seek forgiveness, seek reconciliation.
Make friends with your opponent at law.
The point is to “not win”, but to walk in humility and deference to one another.
Allow God room for vengeance.
We are told to forgive so that Father in heaven will forgive us.
Do not think that you can hold something against someone while receiving God’s forgiveness.
Jesus was asked about His relationship to the Law.
Even today people question.
It is very simple.
Jesus did not come to abolish the Law.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law.
He said it forthrightly.
Jesus then gave examples/insight.
If someone teaches/commands someone to break a portion of the Law, he will consider to be least in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The one who teaches to obey the Law will be the greatest.
Much here beyond our format...seek the Lord.
Luke gives some help.
The Law and the Prophets were in force until John.
Since then, the good news of the Kingdom of God.
Everyone is urged to enter the Kingdom of God.
It is by entering the Kingdom that we fulfill the Law.
It is by entering the Kingdom that we keep the Law.
None of the Law is void.
The Law is fulfilled in the Lord.
Abide in the Lord and you abide in the Law fulfilled.
What an amazing truth.
You, as a True Believer, are the light of the world.
You are the bearer of the Light of Salvation.
We learn that we are to shine forth.
Never attempt to cover that which you are.
So that other can see the good deeds and give honor to Father.
We are to illumine this present darkness.
We are not to be covered.
We are not to be hidden under a basket.
There is never a time when we are not to shine forth the Light.
Jesus is the Light of the world.
Followers of Jesus will have the Light of life.
They will not walk in darkness.
Some will shine from the hill.
Some will shine from the lamp stand.
Shine the Light of Life that has been granted to you.
Do you hear?
Do you have the ears of the Spirit?
The Lord tells us that we are salt.
We are that which preserves.
We are that which flavors.
We are that which heals.
Not us personally in the flesh, but as vessels of the Most High, bearers of the ver Presence of God.
True Believers are salt.
Not the world.
The world does not preserve, flavor, heal.
Yet, we must guard the salt.
Determine to be not saltless lest you become useless.
Do not become good for nothing...
Could there be a more concise and stark contrast?
Jesus says “Blessed are those who are…
- poor in spirit
- those who mourn
- the gentle
- those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
- pure in heart
- those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness
- falsely accused
...all because of the Lord.
The world finds such to be foolishness.
The world’s pattern is the opposite.
What is the blessing to be received?
- the Kingdom of Heaven
- Inheriting the earth
- See God
- Called Sons of God
What are we to do now?
Know your reward awaiting in heaven is great.
That which is to come is nothing compared to what the world offers now.
Do not be deceived.
Put your eyes upon Him.
“Saw, Sat, Called, Teach”
Yesterday we saw how people were flocking to see Jesus from all the surrounding area.
He was healing folk of illness, disease, seizures, paralysis.
The readings today set the scene for the next few days…”when He saw the crowds, He went up the mountain. Sat down. His disciples came to Him. He began to teach.
We are to do likewise in the normal flow of our lives.
All authority has been granted unto us.
“Called with Authority”
Jesus called His disciples.
He did not do this lightly.
He prayed unto Father all night.
We have there names in these passages.
Jesus called them.
Jesus sent them out to preach - the Good News of the Kingdom.
Jesus gave them authority over unclean spirits so they could cast out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.
We see a connection between the demonic and disease/sickness.
Those who are true believers have been called, chosen, empowered and sent.
“From Near and Far…”
The word about Jesus spread broad and far...even into foreign lands.
Jesus healed those who suffered.
Look at the conditions:
- demon possessed
Note how the demons responded to Jesus’ command for them to leave.
They cried out “You are the Son of God”.
They remained silent when Jesus told them to not make Him known.
People came to hear Jesus.
People came to be healed by Jesus.
All the people were trying to touch Him, because power was coming out from Him and healing them all.
People seek the same today.
Will you be a vessel of the Presence and Power of the Lord Jesus?
“It Is Lawful to Do Good”
One would not think that consideration would have to be given to whether it is “lawful to do good”, but such is the case when dealing with the religionist.
The religious rulers in the reading sought to have grounds to accuse Jesus. They used the Sabbath as their instrument.
Jesus, as always, would have nothing to do with it.
He gave an example of how they would rescue and animal on the Sabbath.
Should not a person, who is more valuable than animal, be rescued?
Jesus confronts them with their attempt at tripping Him up.
Did you see where Jesus was angry?
He was grieved at the hardness of their heart.
He commanded the man to stretch out his hand (think on that one) and the hand was healed.
Oh how the religionists hates the love and mercy of God.
They were filled with mindless rage...how often I have seen that.
They were trying to decide what to do with Jesus.
They decided to begin planning with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
“Lord of the Sabbath”
Did you notice how the Pharisees were with Jesus?
They followed Him.
They sought to trip Him up...somehow…
The Pharisees were particularly interested in how Jesus “treated” the Sabbath.
They had created many rules related to the instruction of the Lord as to the Sabbath.
The traditions of man.
They confront Jesus with His “breaking” of one of the traditions of man.
Jesus responded with the Word...with an example from the Word of God.
David and his men ate bread against the Law.
Even the priest that go about their duty on the Sabbath are breaking it.
Then, the Lord makes some amazing statements.
“Something greater than the temple is here”
- He is speaking of Himself...watch for this phrase two more times.
- He questioned their knowledge, understanding and application of the Word
- man had it backwards
- man exalted the Sabbath commandment while totally missing the point.
- for what reason? in light of the fact that the Sabbath was made for people
Today we do not have the Sabbath per se.
Yes, a day/time of rest is good, but, one will find references/inferences to all the 10 commandments in the New Testament...but not keeping the Sabbath.
Those who speak of Sunday as being the “Sabbath” are in error. Nothing to separate fellowship over. Just wrong.
The Jews still celebrate the Sabbath...sundown Friday through sundown Saturday.
The “sabbath rest” of the Believer lies elsewhere...
1 Therefore we must be wary that, while the promise of entering his rest remains open, none of you may seem to have come short of it. 2 For we had good news proclaimed to us just as they did. But the message they heard did them no good, since they did not join in with those who heard it in faith. 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, “As I swore in my anger, ‘They will never enter my rest!’” And yet God’s works were accomplished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has spoken somewhere about the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works,” 5 but to repeat the text cited earlier: “They will never enter my rest!” 6 Therefore it remains for some to enter it, yet those to whom it was previously proclaimed did not enter because of disobedience.7 So God again ordains a certain day, “Today,” speaking through David after so long a time, as in the words quoted before, “O, that today you would listen as he speaks! Do not harden your hearts.” 8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken afterward about another day. 9 Consequently a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God. 10 For the one who enters God’s rest has also rested from his works, just as God did from his own works. 11 Thus we must make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following the same pattern of disobedience.12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double-edged sword, piercing even to the point of dividing soul from spirit, and joints from marrow; it is able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from God, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. 14 Therefore since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest incapable of sympathizing with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way just as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace whenever we need help.
The Lord is our Sabbath rest.
1 Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions. 2 One person believes in eating everything, but the weak person eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not despise the one who does not, and the one who abstains must not judge the one who eats everything, for God has accepted him.4 Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Before his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
5 One person regards one day holier than other days, and another regards them all alike. Each must be fully convinced in his own mind. 6 The one who observes the day does it for the Lord. The one who eats, eats for the Lord because he gives thanks to God, and the one who abstains from eating abstains for the Lord, and he gives thanks to God. 7 For none of us lives for himself and none dies for himself. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For this reason Christ died and returned to life, so that he may be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
Someone Greater is here.
Are you living in Him?
John’s disciples had a questions of Jesus.
“Why do we fast and your disciples do not?”
Jesus’ answer was simple.
Because I Am with them.
They will fast when I am gone.
He then gives some examples...the new/old cloth, new/old wineskin.
What is Jesus saying?
The old religion will not hold the new...there will be tear and rupture is attempted.
The old self will not hold the new self.
We are the bride.
We await the coming of the Bridegroom.
He sits at the right hand of Father.
He dwells within us.
Mysteries of power and awe.
Walk in the newness of Life that is Him.
Jesus calls Matthew with simple words, “come”.
Matthew was a tax collector.
Likely a thief.
Yet the Lord called Him.
The Lord spent time with Matthew and his friends.
Matthew threw a big party and his friends came...fellow (many) tax collectors and sinners. Jesus ate with them. He “hung-out” with them. They followed Him.
Of course the Pharisees were offended by such and confronted Jesus about it.
Jesus spoke of how such needed Him.
Jesus spoke of mercy and not just sacrifice.
Some would say that the church is not like this today.
Yes it is.
We point our fingers at folk that are eating and drinking with people in places we do not approve.
Be careful of such.
Search your own heart.
Walk in obedience.
“Their Faith, His Authority”
Matthew, Mark and Luke give an account of a common event.
The John passage is a different encounter.
It is likely that most of us are familiar with this story.
Let me encourage to pay close attention to some particular phrases.
Re-read the passages and watch…
- note how the friends of the paralytic would not stop...they could not press through the crowd, so, they came through the roof. Jesus and others had to know what was happening while it was occurring.
- Jesus saw “their” faith...whose faith? The paralytics? Yes. His friends? Yes! (watch what we learn about faith as we go through the gospels)
- “Son/Friend, your sins are forgiven”...but, he needed healing? What is the relationship between forgiveness and healing? Hummm…
- Of course the religious rulers went into an apoplectic fit…”He is blaspheming”
- “Jesus realized in His Spirit”...we will see such often...the Lord would “know” something “unknowable”… Spirit of knowledge…
- Jesus knew what they were thinking. He then asks, “which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say “Stand up and walk’”?...then the Lord say “...so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” He then commanded the man to stand up, pick up the stretcher and walk home. The man did.
- the Luke account has an intriguing phrase… “the power of the Lord was with Him to heal.” Wow.
Think on these things...
Power of the Lord was with Him to heal.
Sins are forgiven...he needed healing.
Who can forgive sins but God alone.
Jesus has authority
Attack by religious rulers.
What was the reaction of the people?
- seized by astonishment
- filled with awe
- glorified God
- “we have never seen such things”
- “we have seen incredible things today”
May we live likewise.
In His authority.
May the Power of the Lord be continually manifest through us.
THE way to the live.
Jesus come down the mountain after a time of teaching - the “Sermon on the Mount”.
He is immediately confronted with a bold social outcast - a Leper.
The crowd was following Jesus, but I imagine that the crowd parted as the Leper proceeded toward the Lord. They wanted no part of the disease.
Note what the Leper does…
- He boldly approaches Jesus.
- He beseeches (asked for help) Jesus
- He humbly bows before Jesus...in deference, in honor, in worship
- He proclaims a powerful declaration of faith. “Lord” (he believed) “if you are willing, you can make me clean”
- He believed unto healing.
Note what Jesus does…
- He felt compassion
- He simply stated that He is willing. Be clean.
- He sternly warns the Leper to tell no one, but rather to go show the priest, offer what was required by the Mosaic law.
Note what happened…
- immediate healing
- Leper did not remain quiet
- he went out
- he proclaimed freely
- he spread the news to such a degree that Jesus could not publicly enter a city, He remained in unpopulated areas.
- everyone was coming from everywhere...due to the proclamation of this one healed man.
- Jesus did not allow all the accolades to impact Him. He often went to the wilderness to pray.
We see patterns for us.
Be humble and powerful in the Lord by spending time with the Lord. Pray.
Proclaim freely what the Lord has done for us.
Jesus taught daily.
What did He teach? The Kingdom of God.
Where did He teach? Wherever He was...in the temple, in synagogues, in homes, on the way, on mountains, by the sea, etc.
We have two accounts here of Jesus teaching by a lake (again, the limitation/decisions of the “synoptic version&rdquo.
First, at the beginning of His ministry when He calls some disciples, Jesus is being pressed by the people to hear the Word.
When was the last time that folk “pressed in to hear the Word”.
Oh, certainly we press for many things in the name of the Lord, but, most do not press in to know the Word and the Word.
Jesus gets in a boat, puts out, sits down and teaches.
After teaching, Jesus tells Simon to put into deep water and lower the nets.
Simon was hesitant. They had worked hard all night and caught nothing, but, by the Word of the Lord he would do so.
An abundance of fish was caught.
Here we have a vivid picture.
The hard work of man accomplishes nothing.
Obedience to the Word of the Lord will bring forth a bountiful harvest.
Second, at the end of His time on earth, Jesus is by the sea.
Simon and some disciples went fishing.
They caught nothing.
They heard a voice from the shore. Jesus, though they knew that not.
He tells them to cast the net on the right side.
More fish than they could pull up.
John whispers to Peter “it is the Lord!”
Peter covers himself, jumps in the water and proceeds to shore.
Jesus had the charcoal going, a fish grilling and some bread.
They had caught 153 fish, yet the net had not torn.
So many things here…
Jesus is the source of the harvest.
Jesus will direct us in what we are to do.
The work of the flesh will only create weariness and fruitlessness.
The 153 fish? Man has sought understanding for years. I think it speaks to the triune nature of God (yep, triangle number kinda thing) as well as a picture of the growth of the Kingdom...add 1+2+3 etc. to 17 and you get 153. There many other mathematical insights to be gleaned and considered.
Trust the Lord
Lean on His understanding, instruction and commands.
Allow the Lord of the Harvest to bring forth the harvest.
Jesus did as Father directed.
He went throughout all of Galilee/Judea.
To do as Father instructed.
Jesus taught in they synagogues...He was sent to the children of Israel.
Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom...the Good News of repentance and confession unto salvation.
Jesus healed all...again, all…kinds of disease and sickness among the people.
Jesus delivered people from demons...He cast the demons out.
Remember the Words of the Lord…
Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.
The deeds of the Kingdom.
“Early, Secluded Prayer”
We see in this portion of the Word that Jesus arose early in the morning, departed from the group, sought a secluded place and prayed.
It seem to be His habit to arise and pray before the break of dawn...something that we all should emulate.
The disciple followed at some time and found Him.
They were expressing to Jesus the fact that the people were looking for Him, yet Jesus seemed unmoved by the interest of the people.
Jesus states that they must go elsewhere.
He must preach in the surrounding villages also.
It was for that reason that He came.
How did He know that He was to go at that particular time?
He arose early in the morning.
He went to a secluded place.
Jesus had heard from Father what to do.
Upon learning, He obeyed.
He was not tempted by the disciples.
He was not dissuaded by the demands and desires of the people.
He simply obeyed.
May we do likewise.
May we proclaim the good news of the Kingdom.
Pray for Noah and Linda.
“With A Word”
It was the end of the day...a long day.
The entire town...that is what the Word says...was gathered by the door.
Jesus was ministering to the needs of the folk.
They needed healing from sickness and diseases.
He healed all.
He healed by placing His hands on them.
They needed to be set free of demons.
The demons knew Jesus.
They were created by Jesus.
They were in heaven with Jesus.
Jesus drove out the demons with a Word.
The demons came out crying “You are the Son of God”, yet He would not allow them to speak.
Today is the same.
People need healing.
People need to be set free from demons.
What then are we to do?
Here we have another example of the importance of getting the full counsel of the Word of God. Each gospel is important in understanding the account.
Jesus leaves the synagogue and goes to Simon’s house.
Simon’s mother-in-law was taken by a fever...a great/high fever.
They asked Jesus to help.
Note what Jesus did.
He stood over her.
He took her by the hand.
He raised her up.
He rebuked the fever.
The fever left.
She immediately arose and waited on them.
So much here.
Do we approach illness this way?
Do we seek the Lord?
Do we rebuke such?
When healed from sickness do we immediately seek to serve the Lord?
Jesus, the healer.
Many of the things that Jesus did day-to-day make the contemporary “believer” nervous.
Jesus delivered people from demons.
In our time, such is not considered to be normative life in the Kingdom.
This is wrong.
Note the facts.
The possessed man was in the synagogue.
He was participating in worship, teaching, etc.
An unclean - demonic - spirit cried out from within him.
There were many spirits and they cried to Jesus.
Look again at what they said…
“Leave us alone, Jesus of Nazareth…
Have you come to destroy us?…
I know who You are - the Holy One of God!”
The demons testified that He was the Holy One of God.
The demons cowered in fear.
The demons obeyed.
Jesus said two thing:
“Come out of him”
The demons obeyed.
They did not go “pretty”.
They put on a show.
They convulsed the man after throwing him down.
Then, the demon left with a loud voice...scream.
The man was free.
The people were amazed.
What was this?
A new teaching with authority.
The question is often asked, “does such occur today?”
We all encounter demons often...if not on a daily basis.
We have given creative names to such conditions.
We have sought to massage and medicate them.
The truth is that many are possessed, oppressed and depressed by the minions of the evil one.
The Lord wants to set them free.
He wants to use us.
Observe what Jesus did.
He came to set the captive free.
Jesus taught in the synagogue.
He taught His people.
Jesus taught with authority.
He taught the Truth of the Most High God as the Word of God.
So different from what we see today.
Rare is the person that teaches with authority the Truth of the Word.
Most have substituted control/witchcraft for authority.
They think “cuteness” is relevance.
They think “profound” insights are better than the Word of the Lord.
As the Spirit said through Paul to the church in Rome…
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
The Authorized Version tells us Jesus taught with power, with authority.
So should we.
Why do we not?
“At Your Word…”
Jesus called some of His disciples.
These were not “cold calls”.
These men had heard the Lord.
They responded to the Word and to the Call to come, to fish for men.
Luke gives some interesting insight.
He then told Peter to go into the deep water and lower there nets for a catch.
Peter says they had worked hard all night and caught nothing, but at Your Word…
Do you see it?
At the Word of the Lord a large catch was made.
In the effort and hard work of man nothing was accomplished.
What does the contemporary church depend upon for the most part?
Effort of man.
Rarely do we hear the Word of the Lord to go into the deep water.
We are afraid.
The Lord told them to be not afraid.
What will you do?
“Teach, Fulfill, Pass Through”
What did we learn about Jesus?
- told parables
- taught in hometown in synagogue...on the Sabbath
- had wisdom
- had miraculous powers
- carpenter’s son
- mother named Mary
- had brothers
- had sisters
- hometown offended at Him
- did not do many miracles in hometown due to their unbelief
- He did heal a few sick
- Jesus wondered/marveled/was amazed at their unbelief
- He knew the truth that a “prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.”
Luke gives us some detail to what happened on this particular day when Jesus was teaching in the synagogue.
The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him.
He opened the book/scroll and found where it was written…
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Jesus then declared that this Scripture was fulfilled in their hearing - that day.
The reaction of the folk?
They went from speaking well, wondering at His gracious Words and power to desiring to kill Him.
Jesus was not surprised.
The people knew what He was saying.
They were enraged.
They drove Him out of the city.
They led Him to the brow of a hill to throw Him over a cliff.
But, then, Jesus simply “passed through their midst” and went His way.
It was not His time to die.
He simply passed through.
Speaking the Truth will have consequences.
We should trust as Jesus did, knowing that we will not breath one breath more or less than that which has been ordained by Father.
Jesus fulfilled all prophecy spoken of Him.
Here we see prophecy related to geographical location as well as purpose.
People in darkness have seen a great light!
Those under the shadow of death have seen a Light.
John had been imprisoned.
Jesus went to Galilee.
- the time if fulfilled
- what time? prophetic anticipation and waiting for Messiah
- Messiah was at hand
- the Kingdom of God is near
- Believe the gospel..the Good News
The Word gives many timing elements.
We do well to pay attention.
Here we see “after two days”.
After “two days” of what/where?
Jesus stayed with the Samaritans - the Woman at the Well moment - for two days, then moved on to Galilee.
Jesus stated that a prophet is without honor in His own country.
The Galileans had heard Jesus when they attended the Feast.