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About this series
What the World Needs Now
It's easy to identify things we wish were different when we look around and see what's happening in the world. The trouble is there are so many opinions, so many experts, and we're so divided - even within the Christian community - that it becomes frustrating, messy, and even dangerous. In this series, Chip calls a big timeout to find out what Jesus would say in the midst of our current circumstances. The first-century world was amazingly parallel to our issues and problems. So, Chip goes to Jesus' words, in the book of Matthew, to see how He would counsel us today. He gets very practical about what it means for us personally, and then how we can apply it, to genuinely make a difference, as followers of Jesus.More from this series
We are going to be teaching out of Matthew chapter 5. And what I want you to know, as we study this passage is, the context here is Jesus has come into a world much like ours. It’s broken, it’s difficult, there is violence, there is brutality. Eighty percent of the world are slaves. Women are marginalized, children don’t even matter, slaves are treated like pieces of property. Mercy wasn’t even a value. It was brutal; it was violent. Entertainment was watching people get chopped up. I guess things haven’t changed much.
And on the front of your notes, I asked a list of questions and I would like you to think about. Because as you listen to pundits and television and talk shows, you would really think there really isn’t any hope. Or the way a lot of people would answer those questions, like, what the world needs now: more and better education, better wages, eliminate corruption.
All these things have been around forever and I’m sure we need all those things. But historically, what has brought a difference? What really changes things? This group is in power for a while and another group says how wrong they are. And as soon as they get in power, within ten or twenty years, all the same corruption.
The human heart of man, constantly repeated, oppresses people, hurts people, greed rules. Then there is violence. What the world needs, Jesus is going to speak into. And what I want you to know, that He would answer the questions on the front of that page today exactly like He did then.
Is there a bright future for America? It depends on how His people respond. What would you change? If we asked a hundred people: what really needs to change? We would get ninety different answers. And we’d blame eighty-nine different people.
So, I want you to open your notes and I want you to imagine, if we could invite the Lord Jesus on a separate stool to say, “Lord, You have seen all this before. And at the most, the lowest time in human history, You spoke and You launched, actually, a movement.
The movement is literally the Jesus creed. Jesus ministered, He loved people and then He was asked, “What really matters?” And the Jesus creed is, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, your mind, your soul, and your strength.
And love your neighbor as yourself.
He does amazing miracles that gives Him credibility, He heals every disease, and He casts out demons. So, He comes with this revolutionary thought, not namby-pamby, ooey-gooey love, but a love that is transformative. And He heals people, demonstrating His power, He confronts evil, casting out demons. And then He teaches: there is a kingdom of heaven. There is a new way of doing life. People have been waiting on it. The kingdom of heaven is among you. He has shown up. And He launches the kingdom.
And after He spends all night praying, He chooses twelve that will be the key leaders. And then He will sit down and He will give is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. And He will describe the character qualities necessary to join this movement. And then He will talk about the strategy of this movement will not be education or technology, it won’t be a change in government or political parties – it will be what this group actually does and how they live.
And then He will go on to describe to them: how does this movement fit in with all they have learned about the law of Moses? And then, finally, He will talk to them about what it really takes to please God is far more than difficult. It is supremely impossible. And so, you’ll need to be dependent. And the way to practice righteousness is different than you have ever heard before.
And as you do this, a little mustard seed of life is going to planted in each and every little network of relationship. And that as you keep living out these beatitudes, not do-attitudes, that all around you, change will occur and He will collect a society of people, and this society of people, as they are changed will literally change the core of systems and politics and institutions.
And whenever the kingdom of God, not just church or religion or politics within the church, but whenever the kingdom of God and the Sermon on the Mount has been followed, empowered by the Holy Spirit, then slavery begins to disappear. And people’s value and dignity, regardless of where they are coming from or what their gender, it begins to come up. And instead of corruption, you get integrity.
And we have seen different season in different countries and if we are ever needed a dose of the Sermon on the Mount, I think what the world needs now is Jesus’ words lived out by Jesus’ people.
So, open your notes and as you do, the setting is Matthew chapter 4, verses 23. I’d like to read that for you.
“And He went through Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom,” notice, that’s His message, “healing every disease and every affliction among the people. So, His fame spread throughout all of Syria and they brought to Him all the sick and those afflicted with various diseases and pains and those oppressed by demons, epileptics and paralytics; and He healed them all.” That’ll get a crowd.
“And great crowds followed from Galilee and the Decapolis and from Jerusalem and Judea and beyond the Jordan.” Do you get it? Syria – people are coming from everywhere.
So, what you need to get, the context is two things. The world is woefully broken. It is flat-out messed up. Immorality is at epic proportions, making even what we have today look very righteous.
Brutality, prejudice, racism. Pain; human life disregarded. And Jesus is wildly popular. He teaches like one who has authority. He solves problems and heals people and then He confronts evil head on, casting out demons. And after He prayed all night, notice what happens. Chapter 5.
“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and when He sat down,” that’s the position of a rabbi, speaking with authority, “He sat down, and He began to speak to His disciples.” The primary group are those people that are serious. It’s His followers that He has chosen.
Now, the crowd gets to overhear a lot. And so, this is a sermon for people like us, this is people like – come to a building together to say, “We want to please God, we have been singing about God, we have been worshipping God, we told Jesus that we love Him.” He says, “This is for you.”
And I think it’s interesting when He launches His revolution, He doesn’t give them a program or a game plan. He begins with who. What kind of people, what kind of characteristics, what kind of attitude? What needs to be a part of you in order for the favor of God to be upon you?
“He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Notice now the repetition. He starts with the kingdom of heaven, ends with the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you with all kinds of evil against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven; for they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Notice the elevation of Himself. The prophets of Yahweh, the great King, the Creator of all life; they were persecuted. “Now, you will be persecuted because of Me.” He has clearly been doing all this teaching that He is God incarnate, He is the Son of God, He is the Messiah.
Old Testament passages have predicted for hundreds and hundreds of years an Anointed One. That’s what the word Christ means. An Anointed One. A King is going to come and set up God’s kingdom and the world is not like God wants it, but this new King is going to usher in God’s way, God’s values so that people treat one another and they honor God in ways that are best for them and give honor and glory to Him.
And He has just given us the eight characteristics of that kind of person.
As I prayed and as I just studied this, He is going to take each one of these beatitudes and He is going to show this group of people what it looks like in their world, in their context of what it means to be poor in spirit, what it means to mourn and why, what it means to be meek, what it means to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
And He is going to implant it in their experience in a way that when He gets done, all the lights are going to come on and they are going to go, Oh. This is the kind of follower, this is the agenda, this is what it means to follow this King. And so, that’s how I am going to teach it. So, with that, you’ll need an overview of what is going on and as you look at the whole passage.
Question number one was this: how can we share in this revolution? Can you get out of your, “I’ve been a Christian forever,” or, “I go to church,” or, “I grew up in the twentieth or twenty-first century” and just realize: imagine a thirty-year-old teacher comes on the scene, He is doing these miracles, your brother was paralyzed; now he can walk. You have seen five thousand people fed. You don’t know what it is about Him, but this guy is from God and you want to be a part of what He is doing.
And He says, “Okay, number one, here are the character qualities.” And you scratch your head. And then what He says, the strategy, the strategy? We are going to change the whole world. There is going to be a revolution of love and the kingdom is going to start and it’s going to be here already, but not yet. “But one day, I will come back as the reigning King and, believe Me, this kind of world is going to be forever and ever and ever. But until then, we are going to start it.”
And then look at verses 13 through 16. He doesn’t say: “Try to be the salt of the earth.” He doesn’t say, “Try to be the light.”
The strategy of Jesus’ movement isn’t something or someone. It’s not technology, it’s not education, it’s not politics. It’s His actual people living out their life like those beatitudes describe in ways that literally transform like salt tasting and infecting things. Like light penetrating in all areas of darkness.
And then the next question is not only: what will we do as the salt and light? But how does this jive – I’m not sure Jesus would use those words – but how does this jive with all that we have learned in the Old Testament?
In other words, they would say, “We know the law is from God and from Moses. We know the prophets spoke. You are from God, but would You help us understand what is Your relationship and this new movement, this revolution of love. How does it fit?”
And so, follow along as I read verses 17 through 20. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Now, verse 20 is the key to the Sermon on the Mount. Verse 20 is where He is going to rock their world and I hope it rocks mine and yours. “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Unless your righteousness – your behavior, your attitudes from the heart, how you live – your rightness with God and rightness with people, unless it exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees, you can’t even get in.
Now, if you’re a good Jewish boy, and all these were good Jewish boys; they grew up in the synagogue. At a minimum, they all had the first five books of the Old Testament memorized and many of them, many more. It was an oral learning. They had scores and scores of the psalms. They know the prophets. And their heroes, if you will, the people that taught them in the synagogues were the Pharisees. And the Pharisees are squeaky clean.
You blow a trumpet and [makes trumpet noise], and they pray out loud and they have got these long things with all these verses they have memorized and they tithe their money, they tithe their time, down to their herbs and spices. These guys were morally squeaky clean, externally.
They were religious over-the-top. And I’m a good Jewish boy, following this young, radical rabbi. Unless I am more holy than them, I can’t even get in? Yi, yi, yi!
And then He said, “Well, what does that mean?” And so, notice in your Bible here, it says: anger, then lust, divorce, oaths, retaliation, love your enemies. I have put it on your handout. But what He is going to do is He is going to say, “Murder, adultery, divorce, oaths, retribution, and enemies,” He is going to take those hot topics and He is going to say, “You have heard it said, but I say to you.” “You have heard it said,” Old Testament, and then how the Pharisees say this is what it looks like to be righteous. “But this is what I say.”
And so, “You have heard it said, ‘You shall not murder;’ I say,” internal, “if your anger is in your heart towards your brother, if you say, ‘raca’ to him, ‘you fool,’ you’re in danger. You have heard it said, ‘Don’t commit adultery.’ I say,” No, no, no. It’s not just the action, in your heart, when you look at a woman, if you lust in your heart…
“You have heard it said,” and He goes through each of these hot topics. “You have heard it said, ‘Be good to your friends and hate your enemies,’ but I say to you, love your enemies, pray for them.”
If you’re a good Jewish boy and you are following Him, for whatever level of spirituality you had, you’re getting crushed.
In fact, I put the little chart, what He does with each one of these things all the way through the entire chapter. Basically, what He says, What you have heard about is external righteousness. I am talking about that which flows internal, from the heart. You have learned it’s about doing, doing, doing. Mm-mm. I am telling you it’s being, it’s who you really are. You have had this sense of duty. You’ve got to do all this stuff and all these religious requirements. I am talking about devotion, love, loyalty. You have lived in a world where righteousness is your performance.
If we translated it today: I make it to church three out of every four weeks, I give at least ten percent, I go on a mission trips one every three years. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I have family devotions three out of five nights. All those things are good things. But you can do all those things and your heart in the wrong place.
He says you have been living in a world that is guilt-driven. I am talking about a world that is grace-driven. You have learned about the letter of the law of righteousness and I am talking about the spirit. You have had your head filled with a knowledge about God and I want your heart full with a knowledge of God.
Now, here’s what I want you to get, okay? We started with the beatitudes. You have got to get your mind into the heart and the mind of a twenty-something, dedicated, zealous, Jewish boy or girl.
And when He gets done with chapter 5, here’s what I can tell you: however close you thought you were to God, the distance has now infinitely increased. And what you are feeling right now is: I’m undone. I don’t even remotely measure up.
Translation. What does it mean to be poor in spirit? To be poor in spirit needs to – I sense that I am spiritually bankrupt before God, I bring nothing to the table, I could never earn Your favor; unless You help me, I am doomed.
See, He has taught them. It’s in your brokenness, it’s in the relinquishing of your pride. It’s in you seeing your need.
And second, if they were honest, are you kidding me? These are young guys. I’m not committing adultery, but You’re saying if I just think it? I’m undone! I’m undone! And so, now they move from a poor in spirit.
And so, if they’re honest, they are going, Oh God, I thought I was so much farther along. I do lust, I do have envy, I do have jealousy. And they mourn over their sin and they go, Oh God, I am so far from You. I am so sorry. They’ll be comforted.
Remember the Pharisee and the sinner in the gospels and the Pharisee comes in and says, “I thank God that I’m not like that sinner,” and the sinner, “Oh, God, have mercy on me. I don’t deserve anything.” And Jesus said, “This one leaves justified; this one not.”
See, what He has done in chapter 5 is He has taught the first two beatitudes. And He is saying to you and He is saying to me: if you think you’re doing okay and you think that you compare yourself to other people and you think your religious activity is getting you where you need to get, you are not, you’re not even up to bat, let alone on first base, spiritually. Whoo.
In fact, notice in your notes, I summarized chapter 5. Jesus condemns external righteousness, spiritual activities, when it doesn’t flow from an authentic relationship with God.
Jesus condemns! It doesn’t say it doesn’t quite measure up. He condemns it. The harshest words of Jesus aren’t for Romans that are brutal. He didn’t talk about the politics of the day. He didn’t talk about all those things shouldn’t be happening and the gladiators. He didn’t talk about all the terrible things of slavery. He went after – who? The people who thought they were righteous. And He launched a movement of people that owned their own stuff and loved radically first.
Until you’re poor in spirit, until you realize you don’t bring anything to this party that can merit God’s favor, until you get that to the point…
When was the last time you felt crushed over your sin? Our tendency, “Well, everyone does that. Everyone logs on now and then. Everyone has a little envy. Everyone is a little bit materialistic. Everyone is kind of lazy like me. Everyone does it so it must be okay.” Really? Probably not to God. And we probably don’t experience His power.
Chapter 6, He is going to now shift gears, because think of the question that it raises, okay? Get your mind back into my Jewish friends. Okay, I don’t measure up, I feel really bad about the things that I never even thought were sin. So, how do you live this righteous life?
If doing the stuff that we have been doing and following the Pharisees isn’t the way, how in the world do you ever get right with God? And so, notice what He does in chapter 6 and the beginning of 7, He gives them four, what I call warnings that kill the movement of God in your soul. And they kill the movement of God in churches.
The first issue is the issue of motives. He talks about giving in verses 1 through 4, prayer in verses 5 through 8, and fasting in verses 16 through 18. And all you need to know is that in Jewish culture, that the three primary disciplines, the way you earned your favor with God is how much you gave, how long you prayed, and how often you fasted.
So, if you want to get close to God, give a lot, pray a lot, and fast a lot. And so, the Pharisees did. Notice, picking it up. You got your Bible open? Follow along. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them; for then you’ll have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
This is radical: Abba. He is introducing, whoa-oh, it’s about relationship. “Thus,” not if, “when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
Do you notice how often: reward, reward, reward, Father. “And when you pray,” verse 5, “you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love t stand and pray in the synagogues at the street corners so they can be seen by others. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you pray, shut the door, pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Then He teaches the Lord’s Prayer.
Verse 16, “And when you fast, don’t look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces and their fasting may be seen by others. Truly I say to you,” are you getting the idea? “They have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that you may be fasting not to be seen by others, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
The key issue is motives. He says, okay, the practice of giving, the practice of praying, and the practice of fasting is essential. We only break the lust of the eyes and wanting more by being generous and giving. The only way we break the hold of pride on our life, prayer is the evidence of: Help me, God. Dependency. And the only way we break the desire for food that is unhealthy or sex that’s unhealthy or shopping that’s unhealthy or whatever it is is you fast from it. But they are just means of grace. But notice He says you do it, you do it to please your Father, not to earn brownie points.
The diagnostic question, then, is: who am I seeking to please? Who am I seeking to please? Do you know which of the beatitudes He just taught them? “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
The word meekness or translated gentle or humble – it’s the idea of, literally, in the ancient Greek literature, it was a wild stallion that is tamed; it’s power under control. And the picture here, it’s an idea of submission. It’s the idea that I am going to trust God. I accept my giving, my fasting, my praying – I can’t earn my way, but I can please God.
And so, when I do the right things in the right way, the spiritual disciplines that renew my mind, and when I do it out of a love relationship, He said, Wow. True spirituality occurs.
The next movement killer isn’t just our motives, but it’s materialism. Look at verse 19. He is now going to go to the other god. And the other god that tempts all of us is money. So, He says in verse 19, “Don’t lay up for yourselves treasure on earth,” and then the reason is to protect them, because you’re going to lose it.
“It’s where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves can break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves,” heaven is a real – He is talking about the kingdom of God, the heaven that is real. He said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures where moth can’t get and rust can’t destroy and thieves can’t break in.”
And then He talks about the lamp of the body, which is really the essence of: where is your passion, where is your focus, what really matters? And then look at verse 24, He wants to protect them. He says, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will love the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”
And so, the next key issue of this new revolution is materialism. You can jot that in there. He talks about their money. Now, did you notice, remember? Who were the people that were materialistic? The Pharisees. The Pharisees had worked their religious system where they actually became very, very rich.
In fact, then they taught, this might sound a little familiar. Then they taught the evidence of true spirituality and God’s blessing is how much money you have. So, the more money we have, we must be really spiritual. It’s called the Prosperity Gospel today. You plant a seed, send money to our ministry, and the fact that I have two jets and three mansions and all this stuff is evidence that God is blessing me and it’s from the pit of hell. It’s from the pit of hell.
See, ask yourself: what’s the agenda? See, here’s the real question. The diagnostic question is: whose agenda or kingdom am I seeking to accomplish? Mine: success, fame, wealth, my happiness; or Jesus’?
The thing to ask yourself is: do I use people to get money and things or do I use my money and my things to love people?
And if you back it away, this is us, just us here, right? We are the serious Christians.
We came to church. Jesus is saying, This will kill your soul! There are some things in life that aren’t both/and. This is one of them. It’s either/or. Jesus or money. And if you look at your time and your energy and your passions and the demand and the pressure of work or education, etcetera – if it drives everything.
Or, if you look at your giving, your prayer, and your fasting and the meter is really pretty low, then you have your answer.
But this is a revolution of love, this is the kind, anointed King and Savior saying, You may end up being very successful in accomplishing you goals. Here’s the scariest, the scariest thing that can ever happen in any person’s life is to be absolutely successful at the exactly wrong thing.
It’s kind of like all of life is against this wall and when you get to the top, and you have a ladder that goes to another wall that promised life was there and you get to the top and it’s empty. And Jesus is saying, I’ll take care of you.
In fact, look at your Bible, because I don’t have time to read it all. You’ll notice after this – right? I put it in your notes. But after this, He says to them, “So, why are you so uptight about: what are we going to eat?” “Well, we are uptight about what we are going to eat because You’re talking about living this radical life of faith.” “What are you uptight about: what you are going to wear? Or why do you worry so much?”
See, what He is saying is: do you trust Me? This new revolution is about a love and entrusting of Me as the Savior.
Look down at verse 33. He gets to the end of this whole section. He basically promises that: I am going to take care of you.
But notice what He says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Don’t worry about tomorrow. Don’t be uptight about the stock market. Don’t be uptight about what school your kids get in or if you’re going to get married or not get married. Today has got enough problems of its own. Just trust Me today. I have got you in the palm of My hand and I love you.
Are you ready? Did you see the beatitude He just taught them? Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. You know what that means? This passion to be holy, this passion to be right with God, this passion that in your whole life to want to please God and love God and be used by God – blessed are those who hunger. That’s what drives you. Your motivation. You hunger and thirst, not for riches, not for success, not for fame, not for a better body, not for more likes, not for more followers. God – this is a revolution. Do you understand how this revolutionized the world?
Well, He gets from chapter 6 as He continues to flesh out His agenda. And the third big movement killer is the issue is misapplication. They have heard a lot of truth, and He says the problem is sometimes we take truth and we apply it to other people instead of ourselves.
Beginning at chapter 7, it’ll probably sound very familiar. He says, “Judge not, lest you be judged. For with the judgment you pronounced, you will be judged, and with the measure that you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you seek the speck in your brother’s eye, but don’t notice the log that is your own? Or how do you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is a log in your own? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you’ll see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
And then I think in a reference here to the Pharisees and people who are hard-hearted and aren’t open to God, He says, “Don’t give to the dogs what is holy, don’t throw your pearls before swine, they trample them under foot, and they’ll turn and attack you.”
And then He goes into: if you have real needs, instead of asking the government or demanding it from them, instead of asking education or asking technology, in and of themselves, no problem. When you have great need, ask, seek, knock. Your Father really wants to provide.
Verse 12 actually goes with what is above. “So, whatever you wish that others would do for you, do for them. This will fulfill the Law and the Prophets.” And then notice this, “Be careful, enter by the narrow gate; the gate is wide and easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. But the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Notice He’ll go on and say, “Beware of the false prophets,” He said, here’s what you know is it’s not what people say, it’s not their emotional experience. “Good trees produce good fruit; bad trees produce bad fruit. Anyone who hears My words and actually puts them into practice is like a man who builds his house on the rock; anyone who hears my words and intellectually even agrees with them and doesn’t put them into practice is a fool.” And He will say, “I never knew you.”
So, what you see He does is He fleshes out the rest of these beatitudes. Under judging you might write: merciful. “Blessed are the merciful.” Blessed are the merciful. Why? “For they will be shown mercy.”
We’ve got a whole generation of people that we judge everyone. We want people that don’t know Christ to live like Christians. We call them in our culture – they don’t have the power. Neither do we, apart from Jesus.
Where He talks about the preaching, don’t throw your sacred teaching before the dogs or the swine. People that are adamant and ask, He’s talking about, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Blessed are people that, instead of trying to convince people that don’t want to be convinced are bridgebuilders instead of people that are antagonists.
That they make the Christian life and what it means to be a follower of Christ winsome and loving and kind and you agree to disagree and we have clear standards of truth but we apply them, we ask, “What’s this got to do with me?” Instead of, “Why is everyone else wrong?”
If you listen to a radio talk-show: blame, blame, blame, blame, blame, blame. Go on ninety percent of Christians’ Facebook and we are passing on all this stuff: “They did that, they did that, they did that, I’m with this party, I’m against that party. That person did that. That person did this. This person did that.” And Jesus is saying: guess what – that’s fruitless. What about you? What do you need to own? How could you be a peacemaker? How could you love people that you totally disagree with and treat them with dignity and with kindness? Not approving of what they do or what they say.
You understand that lost people, evil people, love to hang out with Jesus. Why? It’s not like He caved into their lifestyle. Let me ask you: how many lost, evil people in alternative everything are your friends and that would like to hang out with you? The Christianity today has basically become moralism.
We are on this side and we think people that don’t know Jesus are the enemy. Reminder: He came to die for them, like He came to die for us. The agenda is to love them. You don’t have to agree, but to love them. It’s the kindness of God that led us to repentance. It’s the kindness of God through us that will lead people to Him. It’s just truth. It’s just Jesus’ teaching.
The final movement that will squash our souls is what I just call misperception. I read it. He says there is a narrow gate. We are living in a day, even in the Church that says, “Oh, you know what? As long as you are sincere, we are going to change the rules and what the Bible says about holiness, what the Bible says about marriage, what the Bible says about sex, what the Bible says about eternity, what the Bible says about a real heaven and a real hell, you know…you guys are really pretty narrow.”
Here’s the deal. You choose to be a loving, winsome, non-judgmental person who, in your heart of hearts realizes, Man, I am poor in spirit. I need God. And I take my sin seriously and, oh God, I need Your forgiveness and Your comfort – and you become that kind of believer that says, You know something? I don’t have the power apart from You. I am going to be meek. But my passion, my life, my time, I’m hungering and thirsting for righteousness. And I am going to have motives, I am going to be pure in heart as best I know.
And, Lord, I am not going to judge people. I am going to show them the kind of mercy. I am not going to have those critical thoughts in my mind. I catch myself often, because I do this a lot, Oh, why is he doing that? Why is she doing that? That’s…
And God has just, I have memorized a passage, every time that is happening now, I start praying, God, I wonder what Your plan is for him. I wonder what it is for them. I wonder how they got to where they got. Oh, Lord, would You help them? Would You love them? Would You encourage them? And then, Is there anything You would want me to do right now to express Your love? And I am on a journey and I have got a long way to do.
But if you would be a bold person to say, “The way is narrow,” Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. You will be persecuted. Do it winsomely. Do it lovingly.” And He started with the kingdom of heaven, He ends with the kingdom of heaven, and you should ask yourself and I’ll ask myself: Where is my fruit? Not religious fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control. That’s the Christ-like life.
Are you ready to recharge, re-engage in a revolution of love? Ask yourself: Which of these, one beatitude, which one of these do I need to say “Oh, God, whoo. Forgive me, for I have sinned. Oh, God, will You help me?”
When we confess our sins, He is faithful and He is righteous or just to not just forgive but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What would it look like for us to walk out of here to hunger and thirst, to be the men and women in our little sphere of influence? Starting in our homes, apartments, or with roommates, passing out of where we drive, where we get our coffee or tea, where we work out, where we do our dry cleaning, where we go to work – what would it look like for seeds to be planted and grow right where you are?