Archive for September, 2011

September 29.11 ethot

Matthew 7:24a (23–27) “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them,

I think that by this time Jesus has made Himself pretty clear, that God has established a way for us to be saved from the judgment to come and a way for us to live while we wait for that day. Any other way Jesus calls “lawlessness”.

Anything that is working outside the plan of God as described in scripture is lawless or out or order, it goes against what God has planned. So, we have one of two options, we can either follow the plan (7:24) or not follow the plan (7:26). Because we live in a corrupt world bad things always happen, 7:25, 27. But if you stay with the plan you will be fine in the end (that final day of judgment).

The house we build has been described for us in His sermon (Matthew 5–7). We are all faced with that choice to act on Jesus words and follow Him or not. Paul puts our first step simply this way, “that if we confess with our mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, YOU WILL BE SAVED” (Romans 10:8–10).

Faith involves acting on the knowledge that our trust on His name will keep us on the Day of Judgment.

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Matthew 7:21 (20–23) “Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven,

I know a lot of people who have said they are believers and as I have watched them growing in their faith I believe them. I also know some who have claimed to be believers and don’t live like what Jesus describes as believers. I doubt they are of the faith. There are some with which I’m not sure, but I know who is sure, the Lord and that individual.

In the parable of the Sower, Jesus presents to us how different people react to the gospel message, Matthew 13:1–23. In His description seed fell on rocky ground, where the soil was shallow. Initially it started to grow and looked fine until the sun came on in a very harsh way, like a drought. It couldn’t take the heat and withered.

Jesus then tells us that some will accept the gospel with open arms and seem to change and be completely different until their faith is tested, then they will wither away. We all thought they were believers, but they weren’t. Only the Lord and you knows for sure what your relationship is. There are many who fool themselves into thinking they have a saving relationship with the Lord, but they have rejected the Jesus of the Bible for something else they have made up.

If you aren’t totally sure then may I suggest you read 2 Peter 1:3–11 and follow those steps.

Sincerity is demonstrating, by word and action, in whom we really trust.

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September 27.11 ethot

Matthew 7:15 (13–20) “Beware of the false prophets,

This narrow way involves treating everyone we meet fairly. But there are some we will encounter on that way or along side it that we need to be aware of. These are people who want to take advantage of our desire to be fair with all for their own personal gain, 7:15.

Jesus tells us that there will be many, so we will need to be on the alert, attentive all the time. But, who were or are these false prophets Jesus warns us about? It is likely that the disciples knew immediately He was talking about the scribes and the Pharisees. Although on the outside they appeared to be good, spiritual men, inside they were very different.

Today, we see false prophets everywhere twisting the Gospel for money. Acting and sounding somewhat spiritual but their fruit is obvious. They sell us the Gospel, which is freely given and they sell us success plans for this life when we know our true riches are waiting for us in heaven. They call Jesus a liar saying the way is broad and we don’t seem to hear it.

Alertness involves being fully aware of the consequences of present actions, words, attitudes, and thoughts.

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September 26.11 ethot

Matthew 7:12 (12–14) “For the gate is small and the way narrow that leads to life,

It is hard to treat everyone fair (as you would want to be treated). Especially those you hate and those who hate you, but Jesus tells us that we’re to do this with everyone. So, when Jesus says, “enter through the narrow gate” we have a good idea of why it is so narrow.

The image of the gate is that of the shepherds who would place their sheep in a holding coral for the night. In the morning they would, one at a time, stand at a small gate and call their sheep. Their sheep would recognize his voice and come. The gate was small to keep the unwanted away. Jesus knows whom He is calling and those of us whom He has called know Him.

The picture of the narrow way is found in Psalm 23:3–4. Here the Shepherd is guiding us “in the paths of righteousness” (living the way we should). But our perspective of that path is different. We see the path as “the valley of the shadow of death”.

So, only a few of us will be called (saved) and we will have to walk this narrow path. The path is the right way we should go (Matthew 5:1–7:12), but at times it will be scary. There will be many who think they are following Jesus and even we will think they are too, but when the way gets scary they will fall away, Matthew 13:1–23.

Wisdom involves understanding our lives from God’s perspective.

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Matthew 7:12 (5:17–7:12) “treat people the same way you want them to treat you,

With this statement Jesus answers the question of the asking neighbor (7:7–11) by telling us to put ourselves in their place, how we want to be treated is how we should treat others. It seems so simple, yet so hard to practice.

Later in His ministry, Jesus will restate this concept by saying; love your neighbor as yourself, Matthew 22:34–40. But in this verse Jesus says a little more. He tells us that in every relationship of life, before you act, think about how you would want to be treated and then act accordingly.

One more thing we forget is that the message of the Law and the Prophets (the Old Testament as we know it today) can be summed up in that one principle of living. What I think Jesus means is that there is a specific message God is trying to make us understand. In God’s original creation plan man was supposed to live treating each other in fairness.

Sin ruined everything. So, now being fair “in everything” is a very, very hard thing to do, but it must be done.

Fairness involves visualizing yourself in other people’s situation before you say or act.

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September 22.11 ethot

Matthew 7:9 (6-11) “Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?

When you’re confronted with that need to defend your faith or to shut someone up (7:6), whom do you turn to, yourself? Who we turn to first, in our hour of need, says a lot about where we are in our relationship with our God. Would you turn to a stranger?

Jesus tells us the story of a man who had visitors come late and he had nothing to give them, Luke 11:9-13. So he goes to his neighbor for help. There he seeks, knocks and asks until his neighbor helps. The law or practice of the day was that you couldn’t turn a neighbor in need away.

But, Jesus tells us that our heavenly Father will meet the asking neighbors need right away, being better than the unwilling neighbor or because as one of His own we turned to Him first. The real question of this part of Jesus message is whom do we consider our neighbor when we have that unexpected need, be it physical or spiritual?

Loyalty involves not hiding my commitment to God, but using difficult situations to let others see how much I trust Him to run my life.

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Matthew 7:6a (1-6) “Do not give what is holy to dogs,

Yesterday we saw that one thing we need to keep in mind when we look at others to judge is that they may just be a reflection of ourselves. Rather than condemn that brother we should correct our selves and then go, from that corrected position, and help them with that problem.

But there are those, who are not fellow believers, who we do need to condemn and stay away from. We can’t pal around too much with none believers because whether intentionally or not they will do what they can to pull us away from who we are now and our mission.

Proverbs 26:4-5 tells us that there are certain people we know who will not respond to the Gospel, they will react. These need to be dealt with and not ignored. They will say stupid things and we need to answer with the truth.

Have you ever heard this statement? I prayed to God and He didn’t answer, so that means He doesn’t exist. What they mean is God didn’t give them what they wanted. Do you remember, when you were a kid, how many times you asked your parents for something and they didn’t give it to you? Did that mean they didn’t exist?

Courage involves taking a stand for what is right when it costs you.

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