Monday, November 29, 2010

Adultery


Matthew 5:27-30

Story & Lessons

We must be most careful not to allow physical attraction to become the occasion of sinful desire.

It is not enough to avoid falling into adulterous relationships.

We must recognize that adultery begins in the heart and is set in motion through the eyes.

"Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (28).

Reflection...

Sex is a wonderful gift, but it is only permitted within marriage!

Adultery breaks the 7th commandment, the 8th (stealing another person’s spouse) and the 10th (coveting someone else’s wife/husband).

The sin of adultery no longer shocks the majority of people today.

Television programs, films, video, books and magazines which encourage us to sexual lust and adulterous thoughts are produced by the million.

Christians are not immune from this sin!

Sexual relations have become the door through which many professing Christians walk to their destruction.

"If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (29).

The Lord Jesus does not mean us to take this literally! We could still sin with the left eye, even if deprived of the right. What he means is that if we are having problems with sin, we must take urgent and drastic action.

We must avoid anything that will play havoc with our mind, encouraging adulterous thoughts and desires.

If we have books or magazines that do this, burn them!

Cancel the newspaper that thrives on sordid and salacious stories, destroy those doubtful videos, and get rid of our television if we cannot control the programs we watch!

The way of adultery leads to misery and hell but the way of purity leads to heaven and to seeing God.

Be sure to keep yourself on the path of righteousness.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Be Reconciled To Your Brother


Matthew 5:21-26

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus went beyond the letter of the Law to the spirit of the Law.

Those who murder are worthy of death, but murder and other sins begin in the heart.

Murder in the heart may show itself in sinful anger against another person and it often leads to murder with the tongue (character assassination).

If we speak of others with hatred and contempt in our hearts, we have all the seeds of murder within and we are in danger of hell-fire.

We must control our temper and our tongue!

Jesus then gave 2 illustrations to show that our relationship with others is most important.

If we have offended a brother or sister, our worship and offerings are not acceptable to God until we have put matters right.

He then spoke of two men going to court to settle a dispute that they had between them.

It was far better to settle the matter before they reached the court; if they did not, one of them might be imprisoned until he paid the last penny that the judge had ordered him to pay.

Reflection...

Animosity is a time bomb; we do not know when it will go off.

We must deal with it quickly, before the consequences of our bitterness get completely out of control.

Are we nursing hatred in our heart?

Are we refusing to be reconciled to someone in our church until they have made the first move?

Oh, beware! Our Christian life will be blighted if we continue in such a state. — “First be reconciled to your brother.”

Friday, November 12, 2010

Leading A Truly Righteous Life


Matthew 5:17-20

Story & Lessons

The teaching of the Law and the Prophets was essential to the Jewish religion.

But the scribes and Pharisees had wrongly interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures.

They opposed Christ and thought that He was trying to destroy the Law or the Prophets.

But Jesus made it clear that He came to fulfill the Law.

He did this by His perfect life.

And the words of the prophets were fulfilled by His death and resurrection for sinners.

He solemnly declared that the Law must be fulfilled to the very jot and tittle.

He stressed the importance of all the commandments.

Reflection...

When we follow Christ we are not free to indulge in sin.

But we are free from the power of sin so that we are able to obey God.

The Lord Jesus said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (20).

Their religion was very shallow.

It was only concerned for outward show.

It may have impressed men, but it did not impress God.

They glorified themselves and undermined God’s word with their man-made traditions.

The scribes and Pharisees were proud and self-righteous but we must never be like that.

Christian righteousness comes from a transformed heart through the mighty power of the Holy Spirit.

It leads to humility and it glorifies God.

The remainder of the Sermon on the Mount shows just how different our righteousness must be to that of hypocrites or followers of false religion.

Do we belong to the kingdom of heaven?

If we do, we will be concerned to lead the righteous life that Jesus taught us to live!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Salt And Light Of The World


Matthew 5:13-16

Story & Lessons

The Lord Jesus Christ used the emblems of salt and light to describe the influence that believers should have on the world.

Salt acts secretly on combat decay and was rubbed into meat to preserve it.

The world is corrupt through sin.

But the influence of godly men and women restrains the moral and spiritual decay.

Salt is useless if mixed with other minerals.

We must keep ourselves from being tainted by the world if we are to lead people to the Lord.

We must also not react against worldliness by withdrawing from the world.

The world will be changed for the better by Christians living in it!

Jesus is the Light of the world.

His people possess His light and are themselves lights of the world.

Light does not act in secret like salt but worked openly as it shines.

Light is an emblem of the knowledge of God and its bring goodness, righteousness and truth, joy and gladness.

Darkness is a symbol of ignorance, depravity and despair.

Reflection...

Are we salt and light in our home and in our place of work?

Seek, with God’s help, to live so that our light will shine in this dark world.

Our light is desperately needed!

"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven" (16).

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blessed Are Those Who Are Persecuted For Righteousness’ Sake


Matthew 5:10-12

Story & Lessons

A righteous Christian life often leads to conflict.

Jesus points out in the last Beatitude – "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake"(10).

Suffering and persecution is not necessarily an indication of God’s displeasure.

Jesus warned His disciples to expect persecution: "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you" (11-12).

Jesus warned that the world will hate us - All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.

Reflection...

We must expect to suffer for Christ.

Persecution can come in different forms – some Christians are imprisoned or killed; others are reproached and slandered.

As Christians we can rejoice when we suffer for Christ — our suffering is a proof that we belong to Christ.

The Christian’s suffering is not for ever and we know that we will have a great reward in heaven.

Have we been complaining about God’s dealing with us? Are we passing through a time of trial?

Then we must start counting our blessings and think about all the benefits that are ours in Christ.

We will soon find ourselves rejoicing in God and praising Him!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blessed Are The Merciful, The Pure In Heart, and The Peacemakers


Matthew 5:7-9

Story & Lessons

We were once without hope because we were alienated from God.

When we come to faith in Christ, we rejoice in the mercy of God.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" (7).

*******

The word ‘heart’ has to do with our whole being.

It includes our affections, emotions, mind and will.

The human heart is a cesspit of iniquity.

But the godly are poor in spirit and mourn over their sin.

The gospel is about Christ dying on the cross and rising from the dead so that we could be cleansed from our sin.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (8).

*******

Christians enjoy peace with God through Jesus Christ.

The gospel message is about the Prince of Peace.

And our God is the God of peace.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (9).

Reflection...

God delights in mercy and so should we!

Let us seek always to be kind, sympathetic, merciful and forgiving.

If we are lacking in compassion and if we are not ready to forgive those who have wronged us, we are not right with God!

*******

To be pure in heart is to keep ourselves from sin and hypocrisy.

It makes us love our fellow Christians.

The pure in heart shall see the Lord Jesus in heaven.

Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.

*******

A peacemaker is not a coward who opts for peace at any price.

We must seek to turn those who do wrong from the error of their ways.

We must go out of our way to live at peace with others, but never at the expense of the truth or of compromise with sin.

If we are to be peacemakers, we must always keep our tongues from gossip.

And we will always endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

If our hearts are not pure, if we are not right with God, we will not be channels of Christ’s peace.

Are we a peacemaker or a troublemaker?