Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Sermon of Attitudes (pt. 8)

The previous character trait or attitude discussed was that of a peacemaker, which gives us some insight as to “counting the cost” of the Christian life (Lk. 14:28). The type of persecution under consideration is that which comes from a life faithful to God.
Jesus along with the apostle Paul wrote of the real possibility of persecution: “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12, KJV); “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword” (Rom. 8:35, NKJV).
Persecution comes about in various ways and forms: physical violence, sharp tongues, angry pens, rejection from family, friends, etc., socially out casted, etc. Yet, whatever form it may show, we must learn to properly respond with a joyful and glad heart (Mt. 5:12). Jesus reminded us that we stand in good company: “for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” The kingdom of heaven is that for which Christ “suffered” (Heb. 5:7-8) and “tasted death” (Heb. 2:9) for each of us. He is our example (2 Pet. 2:21); therefore, we must follow in His steps. First, we must know that we, too, will face persecution, as did He. Second, we must face persecution as He has taught. These attitudes or character traits that are to be found in the man approved of God are those which were new to the Jewish economy, but would continue to this day in the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What follows the Beatitudes are those verses teaching that we are, in fact, “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Mt. 5:13-16). Therefore, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which his in heaven.”

- Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Sermon of Attitudes (pt. 7)

Continuing in our Sermon of Attitudes series, we come to the topic of peace and those that make it. Isaiah referred to Jesus, prophetically as “the Prince of peace.” (Isa. 9:6). We are reminded by the Hebrews writer of “the God of peace” that raised Jesus from the dead (Heb. 13:20).
The Godhead is definitely interested in peace, but what kind of peace is Jesus talking about and making available to all?
The peace afforded to all by the Gospel of Christ is certainly in mind: “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace” (Rom. 10:15). A peace that comes as a result of justification: “…being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1). Jesus in the Beatitude speaks of those who make peace. Something made is not void of effort on our part.
We should be those who “preach peace by Jesus Christ” (Acts 10:36), those who make peace passively by showing restraint, patience and forbearance with one another, those who make peace actively by speaking the right things “ministering grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29), and those who will help settle disputes between men, between God and man, and even inner conflicts within ourselves. The Christian has obtained peace and seeks to promote it with others. The blessing is truly serving as one of God’s children. TGBTG.
-Wayne Rodgers

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

A Sermon of Attitudes (pt. 6)

As we continue through the Beatitudes, or the attitudes of which the man of approved of God will possess, we’ve learned how an individual is able to approach God and now how to continue to live faithfully before Him. The one described as “pure in heart,” would be the one who is pure, sincere and clean in heart; the one who thinks, feels and purposes to do that which is right.
The heart is at the very seat of our being, for example: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23). Jesus taught: “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Mt. 12:34). Later, Jesus continued: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart, and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Mt. 15:18-19).  Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount teaching those “would be” disciples the kind of attitudes they should possess in their lives in order to be pleasing to God.
The idea here is that we should live pure lives, which begins with a pure heart; therefore, that which is seen in us is true, no hypocrisy. James wrote: “a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (Jms. 1:8). Our hearts become “pure in obeying the truth” (1 Pet. 1:22) and should remain so as “we walk in the light” (1 Jn. 1:7). The great blessing: “they shall see God.”

-Wayne Rodgers