When the things that we have been looking at for the last couple of days characterize us, we are living out today's verses in Chapter 5, Verses 13-16: "Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." A child of God has a responsibility and a ministry to the world and particularly to his sphere of influence. He brings a certain type of healing to others, with his love, his encouragement and his help. He helps to retard (and sometimes reverse) the moral corruption that is spreading across our planet. He reflects a great light into a world of darkness. This brings understanding and an opportunity to respond to God's gracious offer of salvation. A genuine Christian's good works, consistently and unselfishly done, are observed by others. Those that have ears to hear and eyes to see may receive salvation, if they will. Either by service in His Name and/or on the part of those who come to Christ, God is glorified! Selah! Being salt, light and a Godly example is our role in the Master's mission. Ron
An old saying goes something like this: "what goes around comes around." Galatians 6:7 puts it this way: "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." This is exactly what Jesus seemed to be saying in Chapter 5 of Matthew, Verses 7-12: "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." When we are living like this, we shall receive mercy, see God and be identified as His children. This last one involves hardship: "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." When we suffer persecution, we will have as ours to experience the kingdom of heaven. Add to that, a great reward, rejoicing and exceeding gladness. Be sure to remember that you, who suffer for Him, are part of a long line of God's heroes. Selah! "For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Hebrews 6:10). Anything experienced for Him will ultimately bring inexpressible blessing. Ron
In Matthew 5, we have the sharing of great teaching on the mountain by the greatest of all teachers. In Verses 1-2, we read, "And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, His disciples came unto Him: and He opened His mouth, and taught them…." For today, let's examine Verses 3-6. In Verse 3, we learn that the poor in spirit will have as theirs, the kingdom of heaven. Poor in spirit seems to be a recognition of spiritual need. Apart from God, we are left with a poverty-stricken spirit. It's dead and the only hope is the restoration of the Holy Spirit bringing life and Spiritual riches. Verse 4 reminds us of much mourning and sorrow. It also encourages us with the promise of great comfort, sometimes now, and forever for the truly saved. Verse 5 pinpoints the value of meekness. This is the result of seeing ourselves as the Bible shows us to be, throwing ourselves on His mercy, and receiving the impartation and imputation of His righteousness. We are credited with His righteousness and then grow in actual righteousness, day by day, as we study, apply and obey His Word. Verse 6 is great encouragement for all who have cultivated a craving for holiness of life. They will be filled! This is the result of God's Spirit using the Scriptures in our lives, as we listen, learn and obey. May I encourage you to ponder these verses in the Bible and connect the Truths above with what God shows you in His Word? Selah! All of these beatitudes form a composite of what God desires in His children and the blessings that follow their development in us. Ron
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. and He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him. And going on from thence, He saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed Him" (Matthew 4:17-22).
Sad news reached Jesus regarding His cousin John. "Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee…." (Matthew 4:12). Why? The answer is found in Chapter 4, Verses 13-16: "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 'The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.'" Even though John was in prison, God was in control. The Scripture must be fulfilled! The blessing to the people in this region once again demonstrates Romans 8:28 which reminds us "….that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." Jesus felt for John but carried on His ministry in the area to which He went. We sometimes lose sight of how someone can be carrying a burden that we are not even aware of, and yet they take time to minister to us. They are a blessing when we are experiencing days of darkness. Their sacrificial ministry in our lives brings Jesus into our time of need. Selah! While Jesus was there in their midst, He "….began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (From Verse 17). As mentioned in a previous article, His first recorded public utterance was the word "Repent." Repentance is an essential component in a genuine conversion. What happened next during His ministry? Return tomorrow for a remarkable episode. Ron
Jesus was in a weakened and vulnerable condition in the wilderness. He had been led there by the Spirit. He fasted and, without a doubt, prayed during this forty day period. At what must have been a very low point, He was tempted by the devil. The devil, as he has done countless times down through the centuries twisted Scripture to try and tempt Jesus via the lust of the flesh, eyes, and pride of life. Jesus, knowing the Scripture thoroughly, quoted Scripture correctly. He rightly divided the Word of Truth. (II Timothy 2:15). James, under inspiration, admonishes all genuine believers to "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7) The enemy vacated the area: "Then the devil leaveth Him…." (Matthew 4:11a). Did you notice that Jesus quoted only Scripture. He didn't use any arguments beyond the Word. If we are submitted to God, and have carefully and devotionally studied the Word and hidden it in our hearts and have learned how to apply it, Satan will leave us, too. He cannot stand against a proper use of God's Word. He will bide his time looking for a more opportune time to attack again. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). We need to be prepared with the Word always. Jesus was. The devil left "… and, behold, angels came and ministered unto Him" (Matthew 4:11b). What a lesson for us! There is tremendous joy ministered to us by the Holy Spirit, when with the Sword of the Spirit we are enabled to send the devil packing. Selah! Make no mistake: we don't vanquish the enemy. It is God's Word, in the power of the Spirit that gives us these great victories! Ron