as always I recommend you buy the book this series is based on.
Reading this week is Matthew 5, 6, and 7.
I think Matthew 5 (specifically what is referred to as the Beatitudes) is one of the most beloved sections of the NT. If anything represents what non-Christians love about Jesus and His ministry it is what he teaches in Matt 5: 3-12. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, and those who are gentle. As are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and those who are merciful. The pure in heart and the peacemakers, etc. These are characteristics we all can agree are worthy of our pursuit. But that is just the beginning of Jesus’ teaching in these 3 chapters. It is one continual sermon. Dr Fountain simply and effectively outlines things for us:
Matthew 5:3-12 – attitudes. We are to be :
- without pretension spiritually, recognizing our dependence on God
- aware of our sinful condition
- humble, accepting the role the Lord has given us no matter what it is
- driven to conform to God’s daily requirements for us, and to live in a right relationship with Him and with those around us
- merciful, showing kindness and compassion without prejudice
- pure in heart, being obedient to Him in all things
- peacemakers, bringers of shalom/peace
- willing to endure abuse for His names sake
- being disciplined in living a Kingdom life we bring light into dark places through good works that have a saving effect within the society in which we live
- life in the Kingdom is primarily an inward life of being conformed to the minds and will of God. Outward actions are the expressions of our inner life. We are to live in full obedience to His law in our thoughts and attitudes as well as in our outward actions.
- we must control our anger
- adultery begins in the desires of the heart and is not just an outward immoral act. Marriage is sacred.
- our speech and communications must show complete integrity, consistency and sincerity.
- revenge has no place in the kingdom of God. We resist those who seek to do evil by shaming them with our good works and our refusal to become violent. Love our enemies and reach out to them to help and bless them.
Matthew 6:1-18 Acts of charity, private and public prayer and fasting are between us and God. We should do them with diligence, humbly and without seeking the attention or praise of man.
Matthew 6:19-34 Confidence in the provisions of God
- spiritual treasure is eternal; material is temporal.
- we accumulate real treasure serving God and others
- we should return to God what remains beyond our needs.
- we should plan but not worry!
- we are to consult with Him constantly and trust Him to handle our resources better than we can
Matthew 7 Further instructions.
- being judgmental of others has a reverse effect. The way we judge others will be applied to us.
- God is the only one who can judge the inner character and motives of people.
- we can ask God for what we need for our life and our service for Him but not in a selfish and self-centered way.
- the kingdom of God is real. So is that of the enemy.
- the path to the kingdom of God is narrow and will be difficult but it is the path of life.
- we see the true values that people cling to in their actions
- obedience to God characterizes people in the Kingdom of God. We enter by faith, He knows us personally, provides for us and works with us.
- What must we do to learn the discipline of the Kingdom of God?
- How does this inner discipline manifest itself outwardly in our behavior?
- How will it affect our relationship with other people?
- How will it affect our relationship with God?
- How should we go about providing for our needs and for those of our family and using the rest for God and His purposes?