The Day the World Turned Upside Down!

It happened on an ordinary day.   People were shopping at the market, working in the fields, raising kids, everything seemed so normal, no one suspected a cataclysmic event was approaching.   This man named Jesus was traveling throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness among the people.  He was like no one they’ve ever seen or heard.   One day Jesus saw the crowds and went up on a mountainside and sat down and began to teach them.   This particularly long discourse wasn’t on the topic of salvation.

This day Jesus was teaching on the way of righteous living for those who are in God’s family, contrasting the new “Way” with the old way.   The old way being; the teachings of the scribes and the Pharisees.   His message was directed to the Jews of his day and was a detailed explanation of ‘repent’.   His message was an elaboration of the spirit of law.   Even for an audience of today, it’s a detailed revelation of the righteousness of God.

Their world was turned upside down that day.

In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said to them:, “When people insult and persecute you, rejoice and be glad, because your reward is in heaven!  Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you won’t enter the kingdom of heaven!  Don’t think I’ve come to abolish the Law or the Pharisees; I’ve come to fulfill them! If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles!  You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy’. But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you!  Don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but store up treasures in heaven!  Do unto others, what you would have them do to you!”

 The Sermon on the Mount changed their lives—what’s it done for you?

Beyond The Cuttung Edge

surgeon's scapelThe White House in Washington D.C., the capitol that houses the Senate and the Congress, the New York Stock Exchange, every state capitol building in every state, the embassies in every civilized country is integral.  What do these places have in common?  Generally, that’s where the illuminati and the cognoscenti dwell and run the country’s business, and other matters of critical interest.  They are usually on the cutting edge of new policy and reform that affect our lives.  If there is major changes being planned and instituted, these are the people who are usually leading the charge and making things happen.

It wasn’t so different in Bible times.  The movers and shakers then were constantly stirring the pot, quietly, to get their way, trying to remove all the obstacles to progress and fortune.  When Jesus came along, the established power structure was threatened.  The office of the High Priest had become a political appointment.  The religious rulers were neither ‘religious’ nor were they ‘ruling’.  Rome was in charge, and every crucifixion was an exclamation point driving that little detail home to those surviving in Palestine.

Whether it’s manipulating the treasury, running the Temple like a business, controlling the production of goods and services required for everyday life, making laws that benefit the rich and powerful, or trying to play Pharaoh and keep the people making bricks without asking any questions.  One thing is always present.  There’s always someone who’s honest and upright shining a light on the process of “progress”.  Being on the ‘cutting edge’ has its benefits here, but when the kingdom of God comes, that cutting edge will become a double-edged sword and slice right through that thick bologna we’ve been served for centuries.

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”  1 Peter 4:17

 “For it is time for judgment…” is not referring to final judgment but to God’s refining discipline (see Hebrews 12:7).  God often allows believers to sin and then experience the consequences.  He does this for numerous reasons:

(1.) To show us our potential for sinning.

(2.) To encourage us to turn from sin and depend on him.

(3.) To prepare us to face other, even stronger temptations in the future.

(4.)  To help us stay faithful and keep on trusting him.  If believers need earthly discipline (judgment) from God, how much more will unbelievers receive it?  If it is hard for the righteous to be saved (only because of God’s mercy), what chance do those have who reject Christ?

Bottom line

Don’t let them say its steak only to sell you a bunch of baloney.

Come in We’re Open

Knock, Knock…Who’s There?

Ever wonder where humor comes from?  Imported or domestic, it’s always enjoyed. The Bible is replete with stories involving humor. A boy named David strikes a giant named Goliath with a stone from his sling, then uses Goliath’s sword to cut off the giant’s head! A prophet of God is taunted by a group of impudent youths, and the prophet sends in a few grizzly bears to maul them! One prophet decides that he doesn’t want to do what God asks and in return God sends a great fish to swallow him and carry him to his appointed task.

God has a unique sense of humor that is demonstrated throughout the Bible. Recall the most feared man in Palestine by the Christians? Remember King Nebuchadnezzar? God made him eat grass like a cow and his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird. Recall how God changed Paul and he became the most effective evangelist in the world? While in the city of Philippi once, Paul and Silas were falsely charged, then beaten, then they were thrown in prison. Locked in the inner cells with their feet in chains, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God. About midnight a powerful earthquake shook all the cell doors open, and shook everyone’s chains loose! The jailer was afraid the earthquake had let everyone escape and he was responsible. Thinking suicide, the jailer drew his sword, just then Paul called to the jailer from his cell; “Hey Mr. Jailer man, come on in, we’re still open for business! Ya ‘wanna’ have a little karaoke sing along with us?” [Paraphrased of course].

What Paul really said was, (Acts 16) “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” The jailer was so surprised—the earthquake, the open doors, the prisoner’s chains loosened, and the prisoners still in their cells! He asked Paul about his faith and then asked, (Acts 16:30) “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” What happened next is simply incredible and shows God’s unique sense of humor. Your homework is read Acts 16; it will warm your heart and bring you such joy.

Knock, Knock…Who’s There? Jesus

Jesus who? Jesus Christ, your redeemer…

Christ knocks at the doors of our hearts, but we don’t always answer. If you leave the door to your heart open to God, you won’t need to worry about hearing Him knock. (Revelation 3:20) “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door, I will come in and join him.”

 ©MET 2012