Blessed – Those who adore God and God adores them! Part 4 (Matthew 5:7-9)

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Blessed- Those who adore God and God adores them – Part 4

I want to propose the reverse of a Palindrome; a “Semordnilap” also known as a “Backronym”; “Volvogram”; “Heteropalindrome” or a, “Semi-Palindrome”! How’s that for a mouth full? Now that I have got your interest allow me to explain my thoughts in a very basic way.

Firstly: What is evil, or to put it another way; what is the opposite of evil? Good! Therefore, and conversely, the opposite of good is evil!

Secondly: What is the result of evil? Death and eternal damnation! What is the result of good? Eternal life!

Genesis 2:15-17 (NASB)

15Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. 16The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; 17but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.”

Thirdly: Now that we have “Good and Evil” in mind, let me amplify it for you from the above Scripture in Genesis. If the consequence or result of “EVIL” is DEATH then it stands to reason that the consequence or result of “GOOD” would mean LIFE, will it not? Yes, obviously! Now, “Goodness”, according to Scripture, comes only through and from Jesus Christ and if Christ is the one who instils genuine goodness then that means eternal life for you and me because of His goodness and His justification that makes us righteous!

Conversely, according to Scripture, evil is the opposite of good and therefore, evil brings about eternal damnation. Now, here’s the thing; if the two – good and evil – are extreme opposites, then good, according to the Bible, means; going forward towards Heaven, and evil means; going backwards to hell! Am I making sense so far? Now, here is where it gets amazing and I think we have the English language to thank for this. If “Good” produces life, and which results in you being able to live eternally with God, and “Evil” produces death, which will separate a person from God and cause that person to experience eternal death and damnation, then the opposite or the backwards result of life or to live is death or eternal death. So, by simple definition, if I was to take the word, “LIVE” and spell it backwards, then you would be left with the word. “EVIL”! Interesting, is it not? The very opposite and backwards spelling of, “LIVE” is “EVIL”! Voilà! Now you have some food for thought!

Now, let’s get to Matthew 5:7-9.

Verse 7: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”

There are 5 points I would like to make about verse seven.

1) A Shift in Emphasis;

2) What does mercy mean;

3) Mercy requires you to act upon God’s Revelation;

4) Mercy means Loyalty to God’s New Covenant;

5) Mercy Means Loyalty to God.  

I want you to notice that there is a definite shift in emphasis in this verse compared to the previous verses. The previous four verses dealt with sorrow for sin and repentance; spiritual inadequacy to fix one’s self; gentle restoration with godly strength, and making Christ the sole objective of your life by hungering and thirsting after His righteousness that comes from Him and Him alone. Therefore, we have been through the repentance stage and now we need to focus on; “What comes after this?” Verse 7 is moving from those who initially have come to Christ – like Newborn Babies – to those that are now in Christ and are now following after Him and learning from Him.

What is Mercy? Think about it for a moment? What does mercy mean to you? Many people think that the mercy of Christ lets you go Scott-Free in a sense, but is that really true? Imagine someone murders your family and you appear in court as a witness. Imagine the Judge is feeling very benevolent and merciful that day, and no matter how broken and torn you feel inside, the judge decides to let that murderer off Scott-Free without any repercussions or punishment? What would your immediate thoughts be? Would you perhaps think that it was a discriminatory move on the part of the judge? Would you perhaps think that the judge was high on drugs or something or perhaps that he is a madman and not suitable to be a judge?

Well, this is the thing that many Christians believe! Is there any truth in that type of thinking? Yes, indeed there is! They are partly right because Jesus did indeed come to die for the sins of the world in order to free those who are captive to sin and Isaiah 61 makes that perfectly clear. Unfortunately, that is where the buck stops for many people. They get a free pardon from Jesus and everything is now hunky-dory  and then think that they can carry on with their lives any way they please and all they need to do is come back to the one – Jesus Christ – who offers mercy for sin  every time without any repercussions. After all; God is love! Therefore, Christ becomes like a sort of “Vending Machine” because if you need quick forgiveness all you need to do is say a little prayer and, voilà, you’re forgiven! Can we honestly think that this is what mercy means in the eyes of God?

 

Verse 8: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

Again, there are 5 points I would also like to make about verse eight.

1.) Our attitudes are Crucial (Titus 1:10-16 )

2) Our Priorities are Crucial (Hebrews 12:14-17 cf. Psalm 24:4; 73:1)

3) Pure means Single-minded (Psalm 24:3-6)

4) Pure means focused on God (Psalm 73:25-28)

5) Pure means Cleansed (Hebrews 12:14)

I need to emphasise that being pure, many times, requires you and I to be single-minded; not broad-minded or even double-minded. Therefore, there are things that are going to come our way that we will have to say no to immediately and turn our backs on whatever evil it is even if it means that we are mocked by other Christians. Also, let me say that; these days a lot of persecution comes from within the church community and not the world! Unfortunate, is it not?

We also know that cleansing can only come through the blood of Jesus and furthermore, continual sanctification is an everyday occurrence and that can only come by having fellowship with Christ who gives us His Holy Spirit for sanctification on a daily basis.

Verse 9: “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

There are two points that I want to make about the above verse that we have just read. Both points are important but only one of the points I want to make is in view regarding verse Nine.

1) Peace with Men is Valuable; 2) Peace with God is Critical.

Even though it is true that peace with men is valuable and important (cf.Romans 12:9-13; 18), this is not what Matthew 5:9 is saying at all even though it is still the heart of God and His word.

The “Peacemakers” and the, “Peace” that Christ has in mind in this section has everything to do with the Gospel of Jesus – The Good News! 

Isaiah 52:7 7How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, And says to Zion, “Your God reigns!

Ephesians 2:12-19 (NASB)

12remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR;18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father.

 You see; it is only through the genuine Gospel of Christ that can bring peace between God and men. The Gospel is many times very gentle in its dealing with people, and then there are times when the Word of God is straight to the point and very harsh and that is the way it needs to be preached. People are often too scared about offending others, and then there are others that are very often offended by the harsh words of the Gospel. You need to understand that; even though Jesus was a “People’s Person”, He never once minced His words to try and dilute the Gospel.

Matthew 7:13-14 (NASB)

13“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14“For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

 

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Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)

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Blessed those that adore God and God adores them – Part 3

(Matthew 5:6)

 What is Hunger and Thirst?

If I was to mention hunger and thirst, what would your immediate thoughts be of these two words; what would immediately come to your mind? Now, did many of you perhaps picture yourself lost in the desert where you did not have any food or water and you or did many of you perhaps think of: Cake; Roast Pork; Ice-cream; fresh orange juice, or even perhaps an ice-cold Coca-Cola? Allow your imagination to run wild for a moment!

What is Righteousness?

Now let me add another thought to that question! If I were to say the word, righteous or righteousness, what would be the first thing that would go through your mind? Would you think of a Saint, or perhaps even think of an Angel, or would you even think that of yourself when you think of the word, righteous or righteousness? What does it mean to you to be righteous?

What does it mean to Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness?

Now, if I was to combine all three of those words into one little phrase and say, “Hunger and thirst for righteousness”, what would “Hunger and thirst for righteousness” now mean to you, or what type of image would immediately pop into your mind?

Today I want to deal with Matthew 5:6 where it says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”, and I want us to explore together what Jesus meant by that?

The Opposite of Righteousness!

Let me ask you a question with regards to, “Hungering and thirsting after righteousness”? What is the opposite of righteousness? WICKEDNESS – obviously!

I want to take you on a journey to help you see and understand What Jesus was meaning and what He was implying by this very statement: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”

In order for me to do so, I want to unpack both extremes and give you a picture of what it means to be righteous and what it means to be unrighteous or WICKED.

Compromise – Supremely Wicked!

Then I want to show you that there is indeed something far greater; something far eviler than wickedness in God’s eyes and that is; COMPROMISE!

Together, I want us to search Scripture and find out how God views compromise and why He views compromise as something supremely wicked and far eviler than just unrighteousness.

Revelation 3:14-22

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Psalm 45:7 (cf. Hebrews 1:9)

2 Kings 21:1-16

Then, I want to end with why God is supremely happy and Blessed by those who, “Hunger and thirst after righteousness”!

Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)

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CLC Baptism Video Photo’s

We had a wonderful Baptism service today and would love to share the photos. The song is called, “Guilty” by the Newsboys from their album: “Love Riot”. I love the powerful lyrics of the song, which tied in quite wonderfully to the Baptism.

Guilty!

When did it become breaking a rule
To say your name out loud in school
When your names the only one that sets us free
When did it become incorrect
To speak the truth about life and death
When your life gave us all eternity

Even if it gets me convicted
I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted

If serving you’s against the law of man
If living out my faith in you is banned
Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying I believe is out of line
If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life
To show the world the love that fills me
Then I want to be Guilty

I’ll rise up and honour you
I’ll testify to all the good you do
Cause your Grace and your Mercy have overtaken me

So even if it gets me convicted
I’ll be on my knees with my hands lifted

If serving you’s against the law of man
If living out my faith in you is banned
Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying I believe is out of line
If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life
To show the world the love that fills me

Then I want to be Guilty by association
Guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways
Your truth
Your life
I’ll pay the price to be your light

If serving you’s against the law of man
If living out my faith in you is banned
Then I’ll stand right before the jury

If saying I believe is out of line
If I’m judged cause I’m gonna give my life
To show the world the love that fills me

Then I want to be Guilty by association
Guilty of being a voice proclaiming Your ways
Your truth
Your life
I’ll pay the price to be your light

Oh I want to be Guilty

 

Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)

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Blessed Those that adore God and God adores them – Part 2

(Matthew 5:3-5)
I want to continue with the theme of last week’s sermon which I entitled: “Blessed – those who adore God and God adores them”. Therefore, today will be Part 2 to last week’s sermon. My aim is to only cover three verses (verses 3-5) out of the nine important verses I want to focus on out of Matthew 5:1-12.

Genuine Blessedness!

I want to declare that there can never be any genuine God-given blessing for anyone unless they are in a correct relationship with God, and they have their hearts set in adoration towards Him alone. I do not care how many times you jump up and down, shouting out, “I am blessed” unless you truly know the One from whom genuine blessing derives. Again, let me remind you that being, “Blessed” has nothing at all to do with your state of affairs; your money, or even whatever you feel that God owes you, but it has everything to do with you being in adoration of Jesus and knowing that He adores you because of your obedient adoration towards Him alone!

Verse 3 gives the idea of that of 1) A Beggar and; 2) Spiritual Inadequacy. Just like a beggar, the “Spiritually Poor” that Christ is speaking of are those that are begging after God; they long after God with all of their hearts and with all that they can muster. Furthermore, it clearly shows the spiritual inadequacy of man to be able to fix himself, and because of this, when he turns to God in repentance it goes to show his absolute dependence on God for the forgiveness of his sins

.Verse 4 speaks firstly of those that are truly blessed are those who are grieved not only because of death but more importantly, are grieved and mourn because of their sins. It causes them to yearn for a Saviour, a redeemer, and a sanctifier who is able to save them from their iniquities. Secondly: they realise that it is Jesus Christ alone that is able to accomplish this for them; who is the only one who is able to save them from their desperate sin.

Verse 5 could be broken down into five sub-points:
1. Gentleness is not timid!
2. Gentleness is being strong!
3. Gentleness is having Wisdom!
4. Gentleness is Exalting!
5. Gentleness has an objective!
Therefore, to bring everything into perspective, regarding verse 5; gentleness or to be gentle in this context is to use the wise strength that can only come from God. It is a deep love and concern for the other person who is caught up in a certain sin. Furthermore, it compels you to quickly and speedily and with fiery passion bring that brother or sister back to their greatness they once had in Christ. It is to bring him or her back to the truth in Christ, and ultimately back to the experiential love of Christ. Therefore, the main drive behind “gentle restoration” is to bring a person who was caught up in sin back to the blessedness in Jesus, subsequently causing them to adore Christ once again and find themselves blessed because now Christ is blessed and supremely happy to once again have a relationship with that brother or sister and to be able to adore them back!

Now do you see why Jesus could say; “Blessed are the gentle [meek]” because the repercussions are far greater and are of a far greater value for everyone involved.

  1. Gentleness is Adoration!

Firstly: Firstly: the one who is gentle is, in fact, showing his or her adoration towards God by showing love and mercy towards another Christian brother or sister; that same love, mercy, and adoration they too have received from God.

  1. Gentleness is Restoration!

Secondly: the brother or sister who was caught up in sin is now restored back to a relationship of adoration and obedience towards God and they are reaping the reward of God adoring them once again!

  1. Gentleness causes God’s Adoration!

Thirdly: God, in turn, is supremely blessed and filled with adoration to the one who did the gentle restoration of the brother or sister caught up in sin, and then furthermore, God is supremely blessed and in an ecstatic state because a prodigal son or daughter has returned to Him! Now, do you see the implication of verse 5? “Blessed (Those who adore God and God adores them back) are the meek [Gentle] for they shall inherit the earth.”

In summary; verses 3-5 are interdependent. They are not diametrically opposed, but rather complementary and produce a definite progression and also a retrogression, not moving backwards in the sense of degeneration, but rather moving backwards to show dependency on the original statement, that is; verse 3.

Neither are they static i.e. standing on their own, but rather fully reliant upon each other to make any sense or impact. There can be no godly gentleness in its fullest meaning and form if there is no repentance. Furthermore, neither can there be any mourning for sin if their is no brokenness in the spirit of man.

Christ takes a man or a woman from the state of sin to the state of, “Christ-likeness” and instills His own image back into them through His precious Holy Spirit.

Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)

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Blessed – Those who adore God and God adores them!

What does it mean to be “Blessed”? This little seven- letter word is, in fact, a very strong word when used in its correct context, but unfortunately it is also a word just like the small word, “Faith” that has been grossly misused, abused and greatly misunderstood. The very word, “Blessed” is so closely associated with well-being, wealth, and prosperity, that the word has basically been integrated into the prosperity thinking, and therefore when prosperity comes your way, you automatically proclaim and exclaim, “I am Blessed!” It is a word that is many times directly used in a selfish way , almost like a naughty child ranting and raving and screaming for a sweet until he gets that sweet, and therefore the exclamation by that person is: “I am Blessed”.
But, that is not really the meaning of the word especially in light of Scripture, and what Scripture, most of the time, stresses what it means to be called, “Blessed”! The meaning and implication of this word, “Blessed” [Bârak], means a two-way relationship; a vice versa relationship that goes out to someone and then that someone gives you the same love and affection back. It implies that the one who adores and loves God causes God to do the very same thing back to that person. Therefore, it would be correct in the understanding of the implication by saying it this way: Blessed are those who adore God and God Adores them back. In other words, God loves and adores him or her back the same way with complete adoration, affection, and love in the same way that person adores and loves God. Is that not absolutely astounding?
Try reading Matthew 5:1-11 with this attitude and you will discover what Jesus’ motive and intentions were when He taught this most famous Sermon on the Mount.

Shane Bryant (OMIN CLC, CLDIP, ADIV)

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