Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Words of Jesus: Matthew 5

Scriptures: Psalms 119:11, Matthew 5, Matthew 11:28

Pastor Lorne started the message last Sunday by saying that he was thinking back to The Rawling Brothers concert here at COTH and he remembered Bruce standing up there saying that when things get rocky, all these other things can happen, but our God is rock solid. So, when things go wrong or not the way we want, Pastor Lorne said he wants us to remember that God is always rock solid.

He then reminded us that he’s been talking about the life of Christ in his messages. He said people often make reference to words that someone else said and quote them. Pastor Lorne thought of the words of Jesus and wanted to talk about the words that Jesus spoke. He said that when he started researching just the words and things that Jesus said, he had just barely started when he realized how much is involved in such a task.

Pastor Lorne looked at the clock and said he seemed to be talking too long each week. He said each Sunday was a little longer and he would try to watch it this week. It was 10:52 at that time and he wanted everyone to time him and wave at him or something if he went too long.

He started the message with Psalms 119:11 which states, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” Pastor Lorne believes that if we hide the words of Jesus in our heart, when we come to life’s issues, if we have His words hidden in our heart, we can react the way we should as He wants us to.

Pastor Lorne said the basis for today’s message is Matthew 5. That it’s not a message of great deliverance but it is liberating. Matt 5 is where The Beatitudes are found in the Bible. Pastor Lorne realized there are some radical things listed here but it’s a message of hope and encouragement, although, he said he himself might have to readjust how he does some things if he was going to take the words literally.

V3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit...” Pastor Lorne said someone who is poor in spirit is someone who has a need for the Lord. Someone who doesn’t have the power and presence of God in their life. The Beatitudes encourage people that they need God and His relationship in their life. We all come to the Lord poor in spirit and we commit our life to Him and in return, He gives us the great promise of the kingdom of heaven.

V4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Pastor Lorne said this means people who are sorry for their sins, lifestyle, etc.

V5 “Blessed are the meek...” Pastor Lorne finds this totally against what we hear today because everything today says the go-getters will win in the end. But the Bible doesn’t say that. It says “the meek... will inherit.” Those who are humble.

V6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness...” Pastor Lorne said if you want to live a life pure before God to live a live with Christ. Without Christ, you might lose your cool in a situation but you’ll handle it well with Christ at your side.

V7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Pastor Lorne said sometimes you go and help people and don’t think about being paid back but down the road you get in trouble and need help and it comes back to you.

V8 “Blessed are the pure in heart...” Pastor Lorne said pure in heart by our faith and trust in the righteousness of Christ. By ourselves we couldn’t make it. Not the whole 10 commandments. He reminded us of the song that starts: “I am covered over with the robes of righteousness...” The robes of righteousness smothers all the things we might not be proud of and it makes us pure in heart before Christ.

V9 “Blessed are the peacemakers...” Pastor Lorne said there are people who like to get other people riled up. But in accordance to the scripture, we are to be peacemakers and bring peace wherever we go. We are to live in a peaceful atmosphere.

V10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness...” Pastor Lorne said you’ve probably never been taken by a government official and been whipped and beaten - at least not in Canada. But he was sure everyone had been laughed at or lost friends, etc or suffered some other form of persecution because of your faith in Christ.

Pastor Lorne said we’ve gone through all of these quickly, and here’s some of the other things Jesus said in the same chapter:

In V13, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth....” You have flavour but you also preserve things.

In V14, He said, “You are the light of the world...” Pastor Lorne says those are pretty big shoes to fill, right?

Jesus talks about other things in life that are centered on the 10 commandments.

V21 is about murder: “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment...” Jesus then goes on to say that anyone angry with his brother will be subject to judgement and if you call someone a fool, you’ll suffer the same fate as a murderer. (Ouch – I know I’m in trouble with that one.)

In V23, Jesus is talking about offerings. He said if you’re having problems with your brother, “...First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.” (Just like in a previous message about not taking communion unless your heart is clean.)

In V27 & 28, Jesus mentions the commandment not to commit adultery but He takes it one step further by saying, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

In V31 & 32, Jesus gives His opinion on the matter of divorce.

In V33-37, Jesus is talking about people taking oaths. He says not to do it. In V37, He expands on this by saying, “Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No'...” Pastor Lorne said he was watching TV and they were selling diamonds. He said a buyer will buy a group of diamonds worth a couple million dollars and when the deal is made, both parties shake hands. It’s a tradition – instead of signing papers. Pastor Lorne said that’s what Jesus is talking about: if you say yes, do it...you don’t need oaths, or to swear by heaven etc

Now in V38 Jesus says, “You have heard that it was said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth'." Pastor Lorne asked if that meant we can hold down our buddy and pull out his tooth because he knocked out ours? But in the next verse, Jesus said, “...If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Now that, Pastor Lorne said is sometimes very difficult to do, unless you don’t have a temper. He said he’d probably want to give it back or at least let them see his heels but that’s not what Jesus wants us to do. Prayer comes in handy at times like these.

V40 says, “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” Pastor Lorne said in the olden days, the cloak was used like a jacket in the day when you were cold, but it was also used as a covering like a blanket at night, so to give away your cloak was hard stuff.

V41 has always been a mystery to me: “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” And on Sunday, Pastor Lorne explained it. He said that in the days before phones and telegraphs, etc, they had messengers carrying the letters along the roads. And if one of those messengers had a heavy load, they had the right to stop you and make you carry their burden for a mile.

Pastor Lorne said Matthew 5 is all everyday, practical stuff.

He also said V44 – to love your enemies, is a difficult one. Pastor Lorne said that if you don’t like someone and don’t care about them and they’re mean to you, he’ll challenge you to start praying for them and asking God to bless them. And he said you’ll find in a little while your attitude to them will change and God will touch their lives and hearts. He said he knows this from experience. And if you keep praying for them, your heart and theirs will change. Pastor Lorne said several times he’s taken himself by the back of the neck and forced himself to pray that way...and God made a change in his life and in the lives of those he thought had misjudged him.

V48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” That’s a tough one. That’s talking about stretching yourself or doing the impossible at least in Pastor Lorne’s case. He supposes that if we completely follow everything in Matthew 5 then we would be getting close to being perfect.

He asked the congregation if anyone was close to being perfect. There were no takers. Pastor Lorne says he himself has a long way to go to be perfect.

In Matt 5, Jesus lays out how we ought to live our life. Jesus wouldn’t say it if it was impossible. But how can we do it? Pastor Lorne believes that if you have committed your life to Christ and stand in His righteousness, when God looks at you He doesn’t see the things you’ve done but He sees Christ. He sees the righteousness of Christ

In ourselves we can’t make it without the love of Christ. With His righteousness, we’re perfect in His sight.

Pastor Lorne doesn’t know what applies to you or me but in Matt 11:28, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” So, amidst all these things above, Jesus is waiting and says “Come to me...”.

Pastor Lorne wants you to know that Jesus walks with you every step of the way when you attempt to do these things in your life because He gave us some radical things to do if we want to be part of His kingdom.

No one is immune to the pressures of life, but with Christ, all things are possible.
Pastor Lorne wanted to encourage you to take the words of Jesus in your heart...now that you know what to do...

After a final song and prayer, I happened to glance up at the clock. Church was over at 11:22.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email him.
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