You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘These Sayings of Mine’ category.

Bible with Cross ShadowAs I mentioned in my last article, harmonizing the sayings of Jesus Christ uncovers additional depths of understanding for doing them. For example, Luke’s Beatitudes add a physical, down to earth perspective to Matthew’s account. Both are true; encouraging us that Jesus was concerned about, and speaking to, all aspects of our lives.

Listed below is a collection of the passages in Mark, Luke and John that can be harmonized with the sayings we have been considering in Matthew. I encourage you to use this tool, under the Holy Spirit’s tutelage, to search deeper into the mysteries of God that are hidden in the Sermon on the Mount. You will be further encouraged, edified and equipped in the building of your strong house.

The Beatitudes – Matthew 5:2-12; Luke 6:20-23

Salt of the Earth – Matthew 5:13; Mark 10:50; Luke 14:34-35

The Lamp under a Bushel – Matthew 5:14-15; Mark 4:21-23; Luke 8:16-18; Luke 11:33; John 8:12

Fulfillment of the Law – Matthew 5:17-18; Luke 16:17

Agree with your Adversary – Matthew 5:25-26; Luke 12:58-59

Jesus Warns of Offences – Matthew 5:29-30; Mark 9:43-48

Marriage is Sacred and Binding – Matthew 5:31-32; Luke 16:18

Go the Second Mile – Matthew 5:38-42; Luke 6:27-30

Love your Enemies – Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:32-36

The Lord’s Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4

Forgiveness – Matthew 6:14-15; Mark 11:25-26

Lay up Treasures in Heaven – Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 12:33-34

The Lamp of the Body – Matthew 6:22-23; Luke 11:34-36

Faithfulness with Riches – Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:10-13

Seek the Kingdom – Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-32

Judging, Condemning, and Measuring – Matthew 7:1-5; Mark 4:24-25; Luke 6:37-42

Ask, Seek and Knock – Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13

Proactively Good – Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31

Discourse on Holiness – Matthew 7:13-14; Luke 13:22-24

The Test of a Good Person – Matthew 7:15-20; Luke 6:43-45

Do the Will of the Father – Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46

Do What I Say – Matthew 7:24-27; Luke 6:47-49

Please share anything you discover. It will be a blessing to all that follow the inLight Adventure blog.

In closing (for this article and series), I want to recognize, and express my gratitude for, the revelation and encouragement this project has been. Our Father is persistent and long-suffering with His children. His Son desires the best for His church and bride. The Holy Spirit has been energetic in His teaching and exhortation. I believe my house is stronger; prepared for the storm that is coming. I pray and hope yours is the same.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Bible with Cross ShadowTo wrap up our survey of the sayings of Jesus, we shift our attention to Luke’s Gospel. Here we find several passages that harmonize with those of Matthew. We also find a couple of interesting additions.

Harmonizing the two accounts uncovers additional depths of understanding. For example, Luke’s Beatitudes add a physical, down to earth perspective to Matthew’s account. Both are true; encouraging us that Jesus was concerned about, and speaking to, all aspects of our lives.

We will come back to the harmonies sometime soon. For now, I would like to focus on a particular addition in Luke’s account: Jesus’ pronouncement of woes.

But woe to you who are rich,
For you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are full,
For you shall hunger.
Woe to you who laugh now,
For you shall mourn and weep.
Woe to you when all men speak well of you,
For so did their fathers to the false prophets.
Luke 6:24-26

These woes represent life in, and for, the world. Interestingly, they match well with “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life”; those things of the world we are warned will pass away (1John 2:17). Furthermore, if we love the world, or the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in us (v. 15).

One chapter later, John says the same thing about the one who has this world’s goods and shuts up his heart to his brother in need (1John 3:17): “How can the love of God be in him?” These are strong words of warning; words that warrant strong consideration. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowAs we come to the end of Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, we find ourselves back to the place where this series began – with a few challenging questions: If you don’t know the sayings of Jesus, how can you hear them? If you cannot hear them, how can you do them? If you do not do them, what will be the state of your house?

The desire of my heart is to give you a reference point for the hearing. I think I have done that. The rest is up to you, and the Lord. I hope you will receive the grace and faith He offers; that your house might stand in the storms of this life.

Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. Matthew 7:24-27

I have already shared my perspective on this passage in a previous article. So let me address a couple of related topics. First, while the subject of this saying is the “wise man”, we would be foolish to attempt to do it as individuals. There are no lone rangers in the body of Christ. Perhaps it would help to think of our houses as brownstones – tightly pressed together, helping each other to stand.

My second point is related to the first. This passage is not much different than the portion of Jesus’ commission that commands us to teach them to observe (or obey) all that He has commanded us – to do what He has said. Therefore, we understand that the Sermon on the Mount is critical to our making disciples.

Furthermore, the Greek for observe/obey means to “attend to carefully, take care of”. We are called to be faithful stewards of the sayings of Jesus. We are called to search out their mystery, and to share that mystery with others. In doing so, we strengthen our house and those houses around us; both now and forever more. The Sermon on the Mount is an inheritance we are to leave for our spiritual children.

The importance of these two points – our unity and our making disciples – cannot be overstated.  Our failure in these two critical areas is the failure of the Bride to make herself ready.  How could we neglect so great a salvation?

Humbly yours and forever His,

Rob

Bible with Cross ShadowAs we have discovered, the sayings of Jesus are impossible to do without the life of Jesus in us to do them. This is the meaning of “in Christ”. Then there are the sayings that are very difficult to hear. They challenge what we want to believe about God. They highlight what we want to ignore.

Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:21-23

This may be the hardest saying to hear in the entire Sermon on the Mount. Many have gone to great lengths to explain away its meaning. Why? Because it reveals a facet of God’s character that many would prefer not to consider: His severity. We do so at our own peril.

Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. Romans 11:22

Our God is a just God (Psalm 7:11). This is one of the things we like about God – when He is just on our behalf, or just against the wicked. What we don’t like to consider – nor communicate – is the just rebuke, chastening and scourging of our loving Father and Savior (Hebrews 12:5-11; Revelations 3:19).

Considering such things make us uncomfortable and concerned about our relationship with God. It may even cause us work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Imagine that! Read the rest of this entry »

 Bible with Cross ShadowEven so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Matthew 7:17-20

Bearing good fruit is a test for every tree, not just prophets and teachers. In fact, our faithfulness as disciples of Jesus Christ is evidenced by our bearing much fruit (John 15:8). To do otherwise results in our being cut down (or cut off) and thrown into the fire.

It is the abiding life that bears much fruit; Him abiding in us, our abiding in Him, and His words abiding in us. Jesus is faithful in His abiding. When it comes to bearing fruit, we are the limiting factor.

The Greek word for abide is menō. It also means to remain, continue and endure. The abiding life is not a passive life. At a minimum, there is the obedient response to Jesus’ command. We must choose to abide.

Furthermore, while God is working in us to will and do to His good pleasure, we must be working out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12-13). The good fruit that every good tree bears is the fruit of the Spirit and the work of God that we have been created to walk in; work that glorifies the Father (Ephesians 2:10; Matthew 5:16).

For me, abiding has required my enduring the transformational work of the Holy Spirit (2Corinthians 3:18). The removal of impatience and a judgmental spirit are two examples. Furthermore, God has used the chaos of transformation to work His way, truth and life into me; and to work out the hooks, habits and hang-ups that interfere with my glorifying Him and enjoying His presence. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowBeware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Matthew 7:15-16

It is helpful for our understanding to recognize and consider the Sermon on the Mount as more than a collection of sayings. The order is important. Jesus’ warned of false prophets immediately following His saying about the narrow gate and difficult way. He did so to help us understand what would be false about them.

False prophets have traditionally encouraged the people of God to take the broad way (Jeremiah 14:13-14; Lamentations 2:14; Ezekiel 22:28; Micah 3:5). Jesus warned that they would continue to plague His church – particularly near the end of the age (Matthew 24:11). Furthermore, Peter relates them to false teachers “who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2Peter 2:1). Both will lead many away from the kingdom.

These false prophets and teachers will come in disguised and protected by a spirit of deception (2Thessalonians 2:9-12). They will be subtle; preying on those immature in the Lord, or isolated from the fellowship. They will create and use confusion and division to further their agendas. Thankfully, Jesus has given us instruction for knowing them: By their fruit. This brings us to two obvious conclusions.

First, prophets and teachers must be tested. This takes time. For their good, and the good of the fellowship, they should not be given prophet or teacher responsibilities until there is evidence of the Lord’s fruit in their lives. This may take years, but their patience and submission to authority will be an evidence of good fruit.

Second, we must humbly recognize the possibility of being deceived, individually and corporately. Particularly in these days, church leadership must be on their guard; and ready to take action. The aforementioned Thessalonians passage suggests that “a love of the truth” will be our greatest protection. This love is active, and it must be developed. There is a desire for it in every Christian’s heart. Ask God to stir it up; and then respond to His encouragement.

Humbly yours and forever His,

Bible with Cross ShadowEnter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. Matthew 7:13-14

There was a time when this saying of Jesus was well known to all Christians; now, perhaps not. Even those of us who have heard it many times have failed to grasp – or have lost – the gravity of its meaning. Entering the kingdom of God is not as easy as we would like to think; nor communicate.

First, let’s deal with the meaning of the narrow gate. The Greek word used here means: Well, it means narrow – as in not wide. Jesus intends for his disciples to visualize a gate that is difficult to pass through. Maybe not the eye of a needle (for everyone), but certainly narrower than a standard doorway.

In a later conversation, he made this abundantly clear.

Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” Luke 13:23-24

Nothing short of striving will get us through the narrow gate. Whatever striving looks like for you, I am sure it is not easy. It is important that we search this out – for ourselves and for those whom we are responsible to God. These articles will help: Call to Action: Strive to Enter; and A Storm is Coming – Strive to Enter into Community. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowTherefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

Here we have what many call “The Golden Rule”. Well, not exactly. When I was growing up, it was said something like this, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It might just be me, but that version suggests that my motivation to treat others well is my own well being. I don’t believe that is what Jesus is trying to say.

This passage actually gives us two motivations for taking the initiative to do good to others. Both are very different from “what’s in it for me”. We discover the first by way of the “therefore”. Looking back at the context of the previous verses, we see that God is always the giver of good gifts. Our response is to do the same for others. It is one of the best ways to bear His image – for His glory.

Our second motivation is found in the preposition, “for this is the Law and the Prophets”. In Matthew 5:17, Jesus makes it clear that He came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. Romans 8:3-4 states that we have Jesus condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us (see Truth Connections – Fulfilling the Law for more on this subject).

Amazingly, treating others as God has treated us is one of the ways we participate with Jesus in the work our Father sent Him to accomplish. Now that is the kind of motivation we can get excited about!!

Humbly yours and forever His,

Bible with Cross ShadowJesus certainly realized that His sayings would be a challenge to His followers – even to those with the strongest faith. He knew it would be hard for us to see beyond this world and this life; that our paradigms are insidiously constrained by our current realities. Knowing our frailties, He encourages us to think beyond even the best we have to offer.

Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:9-11

I am convinced that the Sermon on the Mount has been given to us early in the Gospels to help us realize that we cannot live the normal Christian life. Only one person can. His name is Jesus Christ. Only the Son of God, who became the Son of Man, can live this “more than” life.

And so, as He comes near to the end of His sermon, Jesus reminds us that the benefits of His life are beyond what we ourselves can measure by the physical limitations of evil man (yes, He calls us evil). It is interesting that Jesus does not define “how much more will your Father…”. He seems to leave the answer to our imagination; but, even our imagination is incapable of measuring the goodness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think… Ephesians 3:20

The goodness of God is beyond all that we can ask or think. It is beyond our imagination. It is truly limitless… and surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

Bible with Cross ShadowThere are some sayings of Jesus that do not line up with the average person’s reality. It is at those times that Bible teachers are tempted to justify Jesus’ commands, and defend the word of God. I’m just saying… from personal experience.

My intention in this article is to take a different course. Instead of defending or explaining away, let’s simply try to understand how to do this saying. It is, after all, what the Master desires for us.

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

On the surface, this is not a difficult saying to do. Most Christians spend a lot of their prayer time asking God for things. Most human beings are seeking the truth; and many of them are knocking on the door of heaven, genuinely trying to get into the kingdom of God.

The problem we face in this saying is: Not everyone who asks receives; nor do those that seek find. Many are finding the door closed no matter how passionately they knock. So what is the problem here?

We know that Jesus is not a liar. There must be something more; something Jesus is assuming we understand in this saying. Hopefully, that understanding will help us be better doers; and help us appropriate His promises of getting, finding and entering. Read the rest of this entry »

Archives

My Twitter Feed

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Pages

%d bloggers like this: