Sunday, February 25, 2018

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 03 INFLUENCE

Recently, as Tanya and I went to the Keller Town Hall to take part in early voting, we were amazed to see hundreds of political signs on the lawn there. As we walked from our car to the voting place, about a dozen people greeted us and encouraged us to vote for them or the candidates they represented. Why? They wanted to influence us, of course! And they wanted to convince us that their candidates would have greater influence for good than their opponents.
But you probably know who we were really looking for, don’t you? Why, Russians, of course! We’ve been led to believe by the media that Russians may be hacking us and interfering with our elections!
These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
Reading: Matt 5:13-16
Influence. How could Jesus’ disciples, who are poor in spirit, meek, peaceful, and persecuted, have any impact at all in this rough, tough world? Feeble and relatively few in number, how could their presence be felt at all? Impossible, you say? Well, Jesus describes just such people as salt which, as long as it is genuine, affects almost everything it touches. He calls us light which, if it is properly placed, can overcome this world’s darkness.
Imagine a small amount of salt affecting the entire earth! That’s a huge impact!
Imagine the church’s light, from a high hill, illuminating the world! Wow!
Jesus moves from the traits of His disciples to their fruits. Outward behavior is the expression of inward character.
Feeble, in the minority … yet impact the earth, the entire world!
Both Salt and Light
Do what they do because they are what they are.
Are the products of God’s design and creation.
Accomplish much, even in small amounts.
Are unmistakably evident when they are present.
Are desperately needed when they are absent.
Are givers, identified by the effect they produce.
Both Salt and Light …
Influence others without being influenced by them.
Must be in contact with something else to work.
Are useless when kept in isolation.
Yet must be distinct from that “something else.”
Are responsible to do what they are created to do.
Can fail in what they are expected to do.
Idioms: “Worth his salt.” “Take it with a grain of salt.”
Genuine salt was (and is) recognized by its taste.
We often say Christians are tested. Now we add, “Christians are tasted!”
R Lyons: Some think that its glistening whiteness coming from the sun and sea represents purity. If we are to be salt, we must be an example of purity. In the world, efforts to lower standards of honesty, diligence in work, and morality are going on all the time. The Christian must be the person who holds aloft the standard for purity of speech, conduct and thought. Words cannot be effective unless backed up by pure living.
What does salt do?
Salt preserves freshness, saves from moral decay.
R Lyons: Salt has always had the vital purpose of stopping decay. All of Jesus’ disciples were to serve as preservatives, stopping the moral decay in our sin infected world.
Stott: If the world were left to itself and were true to itself, the world would decay like rotten fish or meat, while the church can hinder its decay.
Without salt – tasteless, bland, even putrid.
Stott: In the centuries before refrigeration had been invented, salt was used to keep meat wholesome and to prevent decay. Indeed it still is. H. V. Morton has described the making of ‘biltong’, the dried meat of South Africa: ‘The meat, having been cut and trimmed to the required size, is well rubbed with coarse salt … If properly cured, it will keep indefinitely.’
R Lyons: Those first disciples would have been intimately familiar with this function of salt. Without refrigeration, the fish that they caught would quickly spoil and rot unless they were packed in salt. Once salted, the fish could be safely stored and then used when needed. The spiritual health and strength of the Christian is to counteract the corruption that is in the world. Christians, as salt, are to inhibit sin’s power to destroy lives. This in turn creates opportunity for the gospel to be proclaimed and received.
Salt cleanses and purifies. Salt softens and tenderizes.
Salt seasons the gospel message and makes it tasty.
R Lyons: Others say that salt’s flavoring properties imply that Christians are to add divine flavor to the world. Salt brings out the distinctive flavor of food. The increase of God’s people should likewise increase the flavor of life. By our presence, participation and penetration of society, in our daily contacts in our neighborhood and community, we are to bring the flavor of Christ to an unbelieving world.
R Lyons: Some believe that Christians are to sting the world with rebuke and judgment the way salt stings an open wound.
Salt awakens and restores. (Smelling salts)
Baker: Salt is potent as an antiseptic, a substance that prevents and retards decay. Salt combats deterioration.
A moral disinfectant.
Creates thirst.
Some believe that Christians, as salt, are to create a thirst for Christ.
Melts ice.
The Reader’s Digest lists 60+ uses for salt!
Salt must be able to contact without becoming contaminated.
Most of the salt available in Palestine was impure.
Believers “salt the earth” by ...
         Adopting the qualities listed in the Beatitudes
         Examples: showing mercy, making peace
         Enduring persecution as did the prophets of old
         Speaking with grace and care (Colossians 4:6)
Tasteless, impure salt is worthless and must be thrown out.
Jesus said that we can lose our saltiness.
It can lose its taste, its saltiness, when mixed and thus impure.
Then it has no effect, no influence.
Result: it is thrown out, becomes part of the road, and is trampled.
It cannot be made salty again. It’s useless.
Lk 14:34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 “It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Baker: The salt from the marshes and lagoons or from the rocks in the neighborhood of the Dead Sea easily acquires a stale or alkaline taste, because of its mixture with gypsum, etc. It is then literally “good for nothing” but to be thrown away and trampled underfoot (cf. Ezek. 47:11). Jesus, as he walked on earth, saw many Pharisees and scribes, people who advocated a formal, legalistic religion in the place of the true religion proclaimed by the ancient prophets in the name of the Lord. Thus by and large the salt had lost its flavor in the religious life of Israel.
Baker: The implication is clear. Just as salt having lost its flavor cannot be restored, so also those who were trained in the knowledge of the truth but who then resolutely set themselves against the exhortations of the Holy Spirit and become hardened in their opposition are not renewed unto repentance (Heb 6:4-6). Therefore, let that which is named salt be salt indeed! Ever so many people who never read the Bible are constantly reading us! If in our conduct we are untrue to our calling our words will avail very little.
When salt is contaminated it becomes corrosive and poisonous. If we have allowed disobedience, carelessness and indifference to rule our lives, we have become contaminated salt and have lost our saltiness. We need to confess our sin and let the Lord restore us to the purpose for which we were called.
Salt Your Speech!
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Col 4:5-6
Walk the walk, and talk the talk. Speak always graciously, tastefully, and appropriately. Add salt!
Salt and Fire, Salt and Peace
 “For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50
Salt and fire – elements in sacrifice. Lev 2:13
Salt and peace – Oriental sign of covenant-making.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world.” John 9:1-6. See also John 1:4; 8:12; 12:46.
Here He says, “YOU are the light of the world.” Being like Jesus is the key to reflecting His light in this world.
Ge 1:3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
2 Co 4:5 For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
Jn 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
1 Jn 2:7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. 8 On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. 9 The one who says he is in the Light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now. 10 The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him. 11 But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
Ro 13:11 Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. 12 The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.
Eph 5:11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”
1 Th 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. 7 For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. 8 But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
Brings life and growth.
Destroys darkness.
Relieves fear.
Exposes dirt.
Guides to safety.
Light guides one to safety. “Let the lower lights be burning.”
Warns of impending danger.
Signals for help.
What we are, whether good or evil, is visible to the world.
Light shines just because that is its nature. It can’t help it!
Light, even in tiny amounts, eliminates darkness and fear.
Light is useless unless it can be easily seen by all.
Light must be set above the darkness, on a higher plane.
Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world. Phil 2:14-15
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Pet 2:9
Acts 13:47
Who is the “you?”
First, it’s Christ. Isa 42:6; 49:6
Later, it’s Paul and Barnabas.
Now, it’s you and I, the church!
A Guarantee:
On a hill: cannot be hidden.
On a stand: fills the whole house.
A Warning:
If hidden: cannot be seen.
Under a basket: useless.
A Command:
Matt 5:16 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
The light of a disciple is his good works, which must ...
[1] be seen by others and [2] result in glory to the Father.
Men evaluate Christianity by the light they see in our lives.
What diminishes or extinguishes our light?
Sin, fear, hypocrisy, pride, or silence.
How to Salt and Shine
First, adopt the “be-attitudes” of Matt 5:3-12.
Be deliberate, intentional, purpose-driven.
Be connected with the culture, but be distinct.
Find and fill the place of greatest need.
Get out of that salt shaker! Throw off that basket!
Preserve, purify, and season something decaying.
Brighten a darkening faith, life, or relationship.
Identify and practice good deeds that are visible.
Seek only the glory of God that will result.
Possible hymns:
Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen in Me
Shine, Jesus, Shine
More Like Jesus
To Christ Be True
Take My Life, and Let it Be
Take the Name of Jesus with You

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Building Faith at Home - Psalm 78

Who spoke these words: “My little children, with whom I am again in labor?” It was not a mother, but the apostle Paul in Gal 4:19. He used that analogy to express his concern for the Galatian Christians that Christ be formed in them.
A child’s life is formed in the womb, and a child’s faith is first formed in the home. It is further nurtured and developed in the church. Though the church can supplement and complement the efforts parents make at home, there is no substitute for the role of fathers and mothers. This is Job One for us as parents! Psalm 78 gives us a clear path forward.
Scripture – Ps 78
These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
Commitment to families.  Parallels between church and family strength.
Building better marriages.  Equipping and encouraging fathers and mothers.  Will present messages from time to time to focus on family needs.  Welcome ideas, questions, and suggestions.
Recent school shooting in Florida. Nikolas Cruz. How did this 19-year-old turn into a killer?
Whatever else may be said – about guns, laws, and schools – one thing is clear. The love of God and the fear of God must be taught in the home. The absence of God in families has had devastating consequences in our society.
One man with a dream: Korczak Ziolkowski
On June 3, 1998, a 500-ton explosion was deliberately detonated in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Chief Crazy Horse Memorial Notes
Crazy Horse was a legendary warrior and leader of the Lakota Sioux, celebrated for his battle skills as well as his efforts to preserve Native American traditions and way of life. Resisting efforts to force the Sioux on to reservations, he fought alongside Sitting Bull and others in the American-Indian Wars, and was instrumental in the defeat of George Armstrong Custer’s forces at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. After surrendering to federal troops in 1877, he was killed amid rumors of a planned escape.
Since his violent and controversial death, Crazy Horse, or Tashunka Witko, has become almost a mythical figure of the Great Plains Indian wars. The place and date of his birth are uncertain, but he was probably born in the early 1840s near Bear Butte on the Belle Fourche River in South Dakota. His father was a medicine man of the Oglala subtribe, his mother a Brulé. Much speculation about the origin of the name Crazy Horse, but most historians now agree that his father had the same name. As a youth he was known as Curly, but acquired the father’s name after proving himself in combat.
The Crazy Horse monument in South Dakota has been under construction since 1948. When (if?) it’s completed, it will be ten times larger than Mount Rushmore (563 feet high, vs. the Rushmore heads’ 60 feet height.) It may actually be the largest sculpture in the world.
Over 60 years in the making
Boston-born Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, descendant of Lakota Indians, born 1908.
6,740-foot Thunderhead Mountain – Black Hills of South Dakota
Blasted away over 7.4 million tons of rock
Nine-story granite face
17 miles away from Mount Rushmore
All four Mount Rushmore faces could fit inside head
563 feet tall (Washington Monument is 555 feet.)
Ziolkowski died in 1982 at age 74.
Left behind three notebooks of plans, diagrams and calculations.
In 1991 Chief Crazy Horse “opened” his 18-foot eyes.
His widow, Ruth, and seven of their ten grown children, continued to chase his dream. His image of Chief Crazy Horse was formed in his family.
What parents must teach children, so that Christ can be formed in them, the church must teach youth, for the same purpose.  And we all must teach each other.
We build faith when we teach our children …
What Our Fathers Taught Us
Ps 78:1-3
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Glorious, Mighty Deeds
Ps 78:4
We build faith when we teach our children …
Confidence and Obedience
Ps 78:5-7
We build faith when we teach our children …
Steadfastness and Faithfulness
Ps 78:8
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Past: Stubborn Rebellion
Ps 78:9-11
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Provision
Ps 78:12-16
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Righteous Wrath
Ps 78:17-31
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Loving Discipline
Ps 78:32-33
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Way Back After Failure
Ps 78:34-35
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Compassion
Ps 78:36-39
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Lord’s Heartbreak
Ps 78:40-41
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Danger of Forgetfulness
Ps 78:42-66
We build faith when we teach our children …
The Value of Godly Leaders
Ps 78:67-72

Keys to the Kingdom – The Sermon on the Mount - 02 ATTITUDE

What’s the single most important element in your life, your marriage and family, your faith, and your joy? What’s the one thing that sets the tone for all the others? It’s your attitude.
Reading: Matt 5:1-12
These are sermon notes, not written in a polished or finished manuscript form. To see the video of this and other sermons:
To see thumbnails of all posts on this blog:
Charles Swindoll: The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past ... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.
You cannot control the direction or the strength of the wind, but you can change the set of your sail.
Attitude determines altitude and outweighs aptitude.
What you think determines what you are, and that determines what you do.
We agree with that, and yet we can easily let other people and circumstances mess with our attitude! Stop blaming anyone else or anything else for your attitude. It’s yours! Own it! Evaluate it! Change it!
So, how would Jesus begin His message to His disciples on that hillside in Galilee? He begins with attitude. Before He gives a “to-do” list, He gives a “to-be” list. He notes eight attitudes that we can and must choose.
And what paradoxes they are!
The world says, “Happy are the proud and the pushy, the powerful and the popular, the selfish and the sinful, the rough and the rude. Jesus ironically promises happiness to the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted. His key works!
Finish the sentence:
Happiness is … Happy are … wealthy, powerful, pushy, charming, attractive, athletic, accomplished, elected, healthy, young, comfortable, entertained, amused, cute, employed, secure …
I’ll be happy when … if … as long as … I am pleasing to God.
“Blessed are” = “These are the people that God will bless with true happiness.” Honored, rewarded, favored by God.
Stott: Jesus’ “teaching on the hill” depicts the behavior which He expected of each disciple, who is also thereby a citizen of God’s kingdom. We see the disciple as he is in himself, in his heart, motives and thoughts, and in the secret place with his Father. We also see him in the arena of public life, in his relations with his fellow men, showing mercy, making peace, being persecuted, acting like salt, letting his light shine, loving and serving others (even his enemies), and devoting himself above all to the extension of God’s kingdom and righteousness in the world.
We could title 5:1-12 either “character” or “attitude.”
1. The Poor in Spirit
Inwardly bankrupt, overdrawn, drained, and spent.
Without the means to buy God’s favor.
Aware of failure to achieve God’s perfect standard.
On spiritual welfare, solely dependent on God.
Dissatisfied with the things of this world.
Dissatisfied with how little of God they have.
More eager for God’s riches than for __________.
Example: Mary’s Magnificat. Luke 1:46-55.
Because: theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Luke 1:52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed.”
2. Those Who Mourn
Because they are first poor in spirit …
Sorrowing over their poverty and sin. 2 Cor 7:10
Sorrowing and grieving over the lost. Rom 9:1-2
Shedding tears over false teaching. Phil 3:18
Distraught over others’ attacks. Ps 56, esp. 11
Crying over others’ disobedience. Ps 119:136
Example: Peter’s bitter tears. Matt 26:75
Because: they shall be comforted.
Matt 26:75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
3. The Meek
πραΰς praüs – tame, saddled, disciplined, self-controlled, gentle, humble, considerate, courteous.
Calm, quiet, agreeable, reverent, in control.
Under God’s control, will, and direction.
Not weak, timid, afraid, or cowardly.
Not opposite to strong, but opposite to aggressive, arrogant, forceful, mean, rude, self-centered.
Example: Jesus. Matt 11:28-30; 21:1-11
They shall inherit the earth. Ps 37, esp. 11
Ps 37:8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. 9 For evildoers will be cut off, But those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. 10 Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. 11 But the humble will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
In OT, this meant Israel through meekness would receive the Promised Land, so we through meekness will be vindicated on earth wherever God’s rule is realized.
With God as Sovereign, we never again are at the mercy of anything in the world.
The earth is ours, because we are His.
4. Those Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Craving to be right with God and do right for God.
As a starving, dying man longs for food.
Ps 19:10; 119:103 Sweeter also than honey …
Ps 34:8-10; 42:1-2 Taste and see … As the deer …
Ps 63:1 I seek … my soul thirsts …
1 Pet 2:1-3 As newborn babes for milk …
Luke 1:51-54 He has filled the hungry …
Example: Jesus. Matt 4:1-4
Because: They shall be satisfied.
Matt 4:1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 And after He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He then became hungry. 3 And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Stott: Looking back, we can see that the first four beatitudes reveal a spiritual progression of relentless logic. Each step leads to the next and presupposes the one that has gone before. To begin with, we are to be ‘poor in spirit’, acknowledging our complete and utter spiritual bankruptcy before God. Next we are to ‘mourn’ over the cause of it, our sins, yes, and our sin too—the corruption of our fallen nature, and the reign of sin and death in the world. Thirdly, we are to be ‘meek’, humble and gentle towards others, allowing our spiritual poverty (admitted and bewailed) to condition our behaviour to them as well as to God. And fourthly we are to ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness’. For what is the use of confessing and lamenting our sin, of acknowledging the truth about ourselves to both God and men, if we leave it there? Confession of sin must lead to hunger for righteousness.
5. The Merciful
Compassionate to people in need, misery, distress.
Aiming to relieve, soothe, help, and heal.
Distinguishing sheep from goats. Matt 25:31-46
Matt 9:27-31 Two blind men
Matt 15:22 A Canaanite woman
Matt 17:15 A possessed son’s father
Matt 20:29-34 Two blind men
Luke 17:11-19 Ten lepers
Example: the Good Samaritan. Luke 10:25-37
Because: They shall receive mercy.
Luke 10:33 “But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, 34 and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
Grace forgives sin. Mercy comforts the sinner, the hurting, etc.
6. The Pure in Heart
Sincere, genuine, real. Undivided, unmixed.
Without pretense or hypocrisy.
“Purge me, wash me, create in me …” Ps 51:7-12
So, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Cor 7:1
Because: They shall see God.
2 Cor 7:1 So, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
7. The Peacemakers
Healing division, friction and alienation. Bridging.
Communicating, counseling, confronting.
“Son of” suggests that this word characterizes a person. To be called godly or like God or sons of God, what quality must be seen in your life? Peacemaking, not strife, gossip, hatred, division, anger.
Can take an insult without striking back. Has no arrogance or revenging spirit.
Wholly given over to God, he has nothing left to lose! No pride! Nothing to defend!
When one lives that way, others will say, “I see God in him/her.”
MATT 5:44-45 Love your enemies; don’t get mad or get even; make peace.
S. Truett Cathy: founder of Chick-Fil-A. On a program with Robert Schuller, he shared the story of how he had launched this successful business: “In the early stages of Chick-Fil-A, we were anxious to advertise our product. One day an idea dawned on me. There were competing newspapers in town, and the editors of these papers wouldn’t walk on the same side of the street with each other! Since everyone knew about their feud, I invited the two editors to meet with me. I asked each one individually if he’d come down to discuss a full-page ad. Neither one knew I had called the other. When they got there and found themselves face to face with each other, they knew something was up. “I said, ‘If you’ll do one thing for me, I’ll give both of you a full-page ad. All I want you to do is sit over there in that booth and eat a chicken sandwich together. When you get through, shake hands. Then we’ll add the caption, ‘We disagree on many things, but there’s one thing we both agree on: This is the best chicken sandwich we’ve ever eaten!’” Robert Schuller
Example: Jesus via the cross. Eph 2:14-22
Because: They shall be called sons of God.
Matt 5:23 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.
8. The Persecuted
From 3rd person “those” to 2nd person “you.”
Hated, insulted, scorned, ostracized. Luke 6:22-23
Not our attitude or character, but others’ reaction.
Even a peacemaker cannot succeed with all.
Example: Stephen. Acts 6-7
Because: Theirs is the Kingdom of God. Your reward in heaven is great. So they persecuted the prophets.
1 Pet 4:13 but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. 14 If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15 Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16 but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
The Flip Side
Luke 6:24 “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. 25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.”
Possible hymns:
Blessed Assurance
As the Deer
Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
O to Be Like Thee
More Like Jesus

More About Jesus