December 6, 2009, Weather, no service
December 13, 2009
The King has given the seven laws governing his kingdom. He is the Prince of Peace, and His Kingdom is advanced through the preaching of the Gospel of Peace, and the outward actions of the Gospel of Peace. His people are to be people of peace. The kingdom of our King can only be advanced by peaceful means.
The efforts put forth by His faithful servants, as they work in accord with these 7 laws of the kingdom, will result in the persecution of Matthew 5:10-16 coming to pass. Our goal must faithfulness to our King at all costs.
The Old Testament ended with a curse:
Malachi 4:4 ¶ Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
The New Testament opens with a blessing:
5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The Old blessings and curses emphasized physical results. The New emphasized spiritual results.
Our next section is Matthew 5:10-16. Here we see the results of obeying or disobeying the laws of the Kingdom. This section can be divided up into two parts, vv. 10-12 & vv. 13-16.
Christ starts his first set of illustrations in v. 21. So let me give an overview down to v. 21 before we start our next section, vv. 10-16.
First, there is an overall warning against mysticism.
In other words, we cannot emphasize enough that these 7 things are not some mystical attitude which gets along with the lawless people around us, including Christians. They are not 7 things which will allow us to fit effortlessly and unnoticed into society and offend no one. Rather, they are strong actions which emanate from the heart; they are practical applications of the laws of Christianity.
Second, vv. 10-12, warning of persecution.
When the Beatitudes are properly followed, the Lord promises persecution by the ungodly, whether professed Christians or pagans. It was the religious who professed to follow the God of Abraham who led in the persecution.
Third, warning against silence, vv. 13-16.
If these things are not actively lived out in the lives of the people of God, corruption will overtake the society in which they live, and they will be trodden under the foot of men. Furthermore, darkness will descend upon the face of the earth.
Today because Christians have remained silent, the Christian God has been removed from every aspect of public life, and Christianity is attacked from every side. If Christians even admit these are Kingdom laws, they reduce them to some kind of mystical attitude.
Fourth, warning against replacing the law of God with the corrupt definition of grace, vv. 17-18.
The King knew the attack against his law would come, so he could not be more dogmatic in saying that he is not replacing the already established law. He is simply expanding it, and empowering his people to keep it, which is why true dispensationalism must dismiss this Sermon as not for our day.
Though the religious leaders and Old Testament scholars tried to find any charge against Christ for undermining Moses, in the end, they had to have false witnesses. Those who were experts in the law knew he did not say one thing to void one jot or tittle of the law.
Fifth, warning against false prophets who, though saved, would undermine the law, v. 19. The warning is given again in 7:15. One of those end-time false prophets was C.I. Schofield.
Sixth, warning that "law-keeping" is not what it takes to enter his Kingdom, v. 20. The Lord's message opens and closes with this warning, 7:28, 29.
Now let's break up vv. 10-20
Vv. 10-12. Personal results
Vv. 13-16. Social results
Vv. 17-20. The validity of the law
Vv. 10-12, Personal results
V. 9 & 10. Notice how closely peacemakers and persecuted are connected. Clearly, the peacemaker is not a compromiser because he will be persecuted,
Note also that proper peace can only be accomplished by the Prince of Peace changing the heart to where the warring one willingly submits his will to the King, according to his rules of engagement.
How many good men have been persuaded even by fellow believers that peace is better than the conflicts that result from standing firm for what they know is expected of them by God's law-word?
The many serious debates going on in congress today. Though the representatives know what is right, they are selling out. They are compromising for various promises that will probably never be delivered.
Certainly, there are grey areas where compromise is needed, such as in our society today is the definition of modest apparel. However, there can be no compromise about immodest clothing. There are some groups that absolutely draw the line on women wearing pants, as though the Scripture said, "Women, thou shalt not ware pants." The prohibition is against immodesty and nakedness.
V. 10, persecute means literally to pursue, follow after, as one would pursue a fleeing enemy. In this passage, it means to vex, or oppress one on account of his godliness. Paul would be an excellent example both as the persecutor and the persecuted. As an unconverted Hebrew Jew, he followed the godly around to vex them. Then after he was converted, the Jews followed him around to vex him.
For righteousness' sake... Because they live a consistent life that is right with God. They are therefore friends of God. I have known Christians and pastors who would intentionally provoke persecution by being obnoxious in actions or speech. They looked for a fight so they could gain "martyr" status, giving them many opportunities to gather renown and speaking engagements.
We are not to be unnecessarily offensive to others. We are to be seeking to please God with all our being, and if in that desire to please Him we offend others, then so be it. But Christianity is not intentionally offensive.
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven... Their faithfulness to their Lord and King in the face of opposition proves that their religion is real. Of course, the only final proof of Christianity is, "Are you born again?"
James said, "If you do not prove what you say you have in Christ by your righteous actions that all can see, you have nothing. Your faith is dead."
Spurgeon makes a very important statement with Matthew 5:10:
This is the peculiar blessing of the elect of God, and it stands high up in the list of honor. The only homage which wickedness can pay to righteousness is to persecute it. Those who in the first blessing are poor in spirit, are here despised as well as poverty stricken: and in this they get a new royal charter, which for the second time ensures to them "the kingdom of heaven." Yea, they have the kingdom now: it is theirs in the present possession. Not because of any personal fault, but simply on account of their godly character, the Lord's Daniels are hated, but they are blessed by that which looks like a curse. Ishmael mocks Isaac, but nevertheless Isaac has the inheritance, and Ishmael is cast out. It is a gift from God to be allowed to suffer for his name. So may we be helped to rejoice in Christ's cross when we are honored by being reviled for his name's sake.
There are those theologians who stand against the "Kingdom Now" doctrine, yet they will preach Spurgeon in other areas.
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.. Let me give two points:
First, is the one we think of, and that is eternal life, bought and paid for by our Redeemer.
Second is found in,
Ephesians 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
When we have realized our poverty, and have come as a helpless child to the Redeemer, redemption seats us now in heavenly places.
Kingdom Now is rejected by many Christians, which is why they must remove Matthew, and especially this sermon, from their theology.
V. 11, revile... of unjust reproach, to revile, Mt.v.11; Mk. xv. 32; Lk. vi. 22; Ro. xv.3 fr. Ps 69.4
Add in slander, insult.
The word for revile is used often in the New Testament, but let me just give the three identical words for v. 11.
In Mark, the others who were crucified with Christ reviled
Luke 6:22 gives us Luke's version of the Matthew 5:11.
Romans 15:3 talks about the reproach that fell on Christ.
Psalms 69 is the best description of revile.
As the war against Christianity intensifies, there will be more and more insults and slander hurled at the godly.
Our Lord gave the answer for dealing with those who say all manner of evil against you for the Lord's sake, v. 16:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Our Lord tells us that we are to answer derogatory words by minding our own business, do good works as defined by our King, and return good for evil.
Our King tells us in Matthew 5:44 (1 Peter 3:9) that if we fail to return good for evil, regardless of our personal feelings toward the mockers, we cannot expect the Lord to give undeserved blessings to us.
Certainly, derogatory words hurt, and there are probably many derogatory words we could say in return to that person, but we must commit ourselves to the King, who will judge righteously.
V. 11gives a word that is easily overlooked falsely, followed by, for my sake, which corresponds with the words in v. 10. Righteous living for his sake.
1) the charges against the persecuted are false
2) the charges are made because the individual is living a Christlike life according to the 7 laws of warfare. The person is trying to please the Lord with their life, which brings ridicule from the ungodly.
I'm afraid we earn most of the ridicule we might get.
Where is the line between persecution for what we personally believe and what the word of God requires? This is a difficult question which the individual must face up to between themselves and their God.
V. 12, gives two reason we are to be exceedingly glad over the insults, ridicule and slander we might receive for our stand for Christ in v. 11:
1) the great reward laid up for the righteous when they see
2) they are identified with the great men of old.
I am sure we would like to be identified with the saints of old, but we really do not want the ridicule and persecution they went through?
According to Greenhill (1591-1671) on Ezekiel 1:2:
What became of this prophet Ezekiel? Antiquity tells us that his end was very lamentable, and yet like a prophet's ; for usually the prophets came to untimely deaths. Adrichomius saith, he was torn in pieces with horses. Athanasius tells us, he was killed for the people's sake. Epiphanius relates that he was slain by the ruler of the people for reproving his idolatry. Chrysostome, in his 46th Homily upon Matt. xxiii. And these words, "O Jerusalem, thou that slayest the prophets," &c. Saith thus, "O Jerusalem, I have sent to thee Isaiah the prophet, and thou hast sawn him asunder ; I have sent thee Jeremiah, and thou hast stoned him to death ; I have sent to thee Ezekiel, and by dragging him amongst the stones, thou hast dashed out his brains." All agree in this, that Ezekiel came to an untimely and bloody end, and so did most of the prophets and apostles.
Then Greenhill tells us why these prophets came to such a bloody end:
Whatever men's ends [that is, reasons] were in killing the prophets, God had other ends ; that by their blood and death, the doctrine whey delivered being sealed, might pass the better ; that none should look for great matters here in this world when such worthies were so ill entreated ; that men might be stirred up by their example, to stand for the truth unto the death ; that it might be a demonstration of the judgement to come, seeing they were sued so hardly here. Surely it follows then that there is a time wherein God will call over things again, and recompense the sufferings of his prophets, and be avenged on those that had done them such wrong.
In the prophets of old, we see the ingratitude of the people, particularly in the ungodly leaders. They not only kick the bearers of truth, but kill them. They not only mock the bearers of truth, but murder them.
Note that God sends the truth to men, and the wicked not only reject the truth, but "break the earthen vessels for bringing them heavenly treasures in them."
It is interesting that Ezekiel was both a priest and a prophet,
and very few prophets had this honor. The Hebrew word for priest
is "Sacrificer, and the Greek signifies the same. That is,
One who meddleth with holy things, that offers sacrifice for sin.
December 20, 2009, no service. 19 ins snow.