Friday, February 03, 2012

120203 - Matthew 06-07 - the love detection exercise

Friday SOAP: How Jesus' sayings provide a sure foundation for a life that will encounter trouble: Jesus said, "In the world, you shall have trouble. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." My only hope, then, is knowing and loving the One Who has overcame the world for me. If I embrace the constant challenge and criticism those words have for my carnal nature, it does not give me ease. But it does put my heart - and my foundation - in the right place.

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S: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Mt 7:24-27).

O: The Sermon on the Mount forms a strong foundation for a person's life. It's completely beyond the power of anyone to perform. I believe it's for this reason that some people create a framework designed to absolve us of any responsibility to Jesus' words here, saying the teachings of Jesus are for those under the Law -- or for those in the Kingdom Age. While I try to be careful to evaluate what Jesus may be saying to those under the Law, (while we are not--Romans 6:14-15, Galatians 5:8, c.f., Gal. 4:4,5), I can't agree to the notion that Jesus' teachings are not for the Church.

A: The very fact that walking in the Spirit is required for us to hear and obey Christ's teachings keeps our relationship with God strong--and keeps us reminded of our limitations. This shows us the foundation of our Christian life. Human nature is to try to do the minimum required - then "cram" at the last minute when there's a crisis. You can "cram" a certain amount of information. And you could potentially "cram" a certain amount of remorse and confession. But you can't "cram" a relationship. You can't cram a lifestyle. You feel your hypocrisy even as you cry out to God for help against the rain, the floods and the winds. Love will either keep returning me to the self-denial of Jesus' words - or love will pull me away from them to selfish pursuits. The question is, what is the object of my love? Paul put it this way about his erstwhile co-laborer Demas: "Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world…" (2 Timothy 4:10) And Jesus put it this way: "If you love me, keep my commandments… Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." (John 14:21)

P: Father, let me be found a faithful servant. May your Holy Spirit shed love for Christ, and love for those for whom He died, abroad in my heart, and let me be crucified with Christ, obedient to His words, well-founded and fruitful.

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