"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . . Our Website is UNDER CONSTRUCTION, please be patient!

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 6 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

By James Fire

While the Beatitudes and Similitudes have been covered in Chapter Five along with more of the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon preached by our LORD is far from complete; it continues still for another two chapters. 

Thus, this constitutes the longest, continuous teaching by Jesus Christ in Scripture (It’s interesting to note that Levi Matthias whose Gospel account we are now studying was a tax collector; this would mean he would be very skilled at dictation and likely wrote these discourses from the LORD on site while He addressed the people). 

We are about to begin Chapter Six now and there is much to cover.
The chapter begins with and maintains a warning against religious externalism and hypocrisy while also giving instruction on the proper method and purpose for prayer; also benevolence, fasting, forgiveness, service, and perspectives on eternal versus temporal values are considered.

We must remind ourselves that these teachings revolve around the central focus of the Kingdom of heaven, of which the LORD Himself is King; that is the Messiah of Israel. Yet these teachings are also in a profoundly spiritual sense applicable for the church as well, guiding and governing our attitudes and motivations through the power of the indwelling Spirit.
Without further ado then, let us begin the study.
MATTHEW 6:1-2
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.


 Alms refers to charitable donations to the poor, something that the Jewish people were admonished to see to by the LORD Who gave such commandment (Ex. 22:25 and 23:11 for example). However, such charity was not to be paraded before others in a boastful and, or arrogant manner. In this passage the LORD clearly tells His hearers that they were not to give alms to be seen by others but only one chapter earlier, He also told them:

MATTHEW 5:16
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven
.

Is this a contradiction? How can we not allow ourselves to be seen by others doing charitable and good works (MT. 6:1) and at the same time, allow these good works to be seen (MT. 5:16)?

I believe it has to do with the intent of the heart – for those who do such things, seeking the praise and “glory of men” (MT. 6:2) will result in no reward from the Father. Yet those who seek to truly please God will be seen of Him and receive reward from Him, and yet when seen by others, they will glorify God – not the one's doing the good works, because the doers of good works will direct attention to the LORD Who enabled them to do such. 

I believe that when done with the correct motive, people will be rightly directed to give God the glory rather than to those who are simply being obedient and loving towards God. The Holy Spirit, by Whose power we are able to conduct ourselves in these godly ways, Himself always directs attention to the LORD and never Himself (JOHN 16:12-14).

Apparently as the LORD admonished people to not sound a trumpet before themselves when giving, it must have been a practice by some to do this very thing! Quite literally they were “blowing their own horn” to draw attention to how much they were donating for the cause!
Our offerings and service to God must be with the right motives, otherwise they are of no value whatsoever (1 COR. 13:1-8).


We cannot assume that God is pleased by the amount that we give in our offerings on Sunday mornings or to charitable organizations, but by how much of a sacrifice the offering is. Two people could donate twenty dollars each. For one this sum could represent a mere 1% of their income; for another, it could represent 50% and offering it cost them far more than the other. The LORD said as much elsewhere, regarding the poor widow and her two mites (Mk. 12:41-44). 


Yet giving must always be done willingly, cheerfully and from a heart of love for God (2 COR. 9:6-8; PS. 96:7-9).


Religious show in order to impress and to receive honor from others is forbidden then; it's a form of hypocrisy that leads to even deeper and more dangerous forms of pride (PS 10:4; PROV. 11:2; MK. 7:21-23; 1 JN. 2:16). We must maintain purity by none other than the Holy Spirit (1 TIM. 1:5; 2 TIM.2:22). Our prayers, charitable deeds, church attendance, Bible reading, etc. are all to be done with proper motives – for the love and worship of God, not for the love of praise and worship from men! The former will bring eternal glory, the latter only temporary praise.

It's been said before: “Reputation is only what other people think about you; character is who you really are when no one but God is watching your actions.”


MATTHEW 6:3-4
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly
.



In Eastern culture the right hand is symbolic of approval; whereas the left hand represents rejection. When the LORD told us to not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, the obvious meaning is that we ought to be discreet in our ministry, not seeking the 'lime light' as it were. Yet I also see how we are to conduct any ministry and service in a manner that will receive approval of our Father and not rejection. Of course any ministry and service we do for the LORD must be by the empowerment of the Spirit and not by our own power, with the motive of love, thankfulness and obedience to the One Who has redeemed us all with His own blood!

We see this very thing in MATTHEW 25:31-46 at the LORD's judgment between the sheep and the goats (note in vs. 33 that the sheep are at His right hand, and the goats are on His left). Likewise we also must seek approval in our ministry to the LORD and the only ministry He will approve of is that which is in accordance to His will (and performed by the anointing of the Spirit) and with a right heart (love, gratitude, obedience; see also 1 COR. 13:1-3; 2 COR. 9:11-13; ROM. 6:16). 

We cannot allow our 'left hand' – the flesh which can never be approved by God, much less received – be involved in ministry as we walk in the Spirit, as it were with our 'right hand'. God promises to reward us “openly” for such quality service accomplished in a humble, Spirit-led manner.

MATTHEW 6:5-6
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly
.



Prayer is very much the same idea as alms; to be done with right motive and purpose; not for show and to put one's supposed spirituality on display to be admired by others (thus the need for prayer closets and doors to shut us in for privacy).


I was recently asked whether or not it was right to pray over meals in public, at restaurants. Of course it's absolutely acceptable to pray over meals in public (we have a little tradition when my fellow saints and I go out to eat, that the first one served gets the honor of saying the grace), just so long as one's intent is indeed to glorify God and not to impress others with one's facade of spirituality. Attitude is everything in prayer – which must be conducted by the saint with a heart of humility, sensitivity, contrition and seeking to please God and not oneself.
An excellent example of this can be seen in the parable between the publican and the Pharisee:


LUKE 18:10-14
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
.

The two extremes in the social spectrum of Jewish life in the days of Jesus' earthly ministry: the lofty and extolled position of the Pharisee – the professional 'Law Keepers' who were believed by the people to be in God's 'inner circle' as it were; and the publican who was despised as the lackeys of the Roman Empire, collecting taxes (and then some!) for the government (with a little extra on the side for themselves).


Both men go into the Temple for the purpose of prayer. Take special note of vs. 11!
vs. 11: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself . . .” 


His prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling! He wasn't even really praying to God (as he no doubt thought he was) but only “with himself”. Notice the boasting that follows in vs. 11 and 12 and how he denigrates others who don't live up to his own hypocritical standards! By vs. 13 we switch to the publican and I get the idea that if we had stayed with the Pharisee, we would have heard more of his boastful listing of all the ‘good’ things he did.

The publican merely asked for mercy, knowing his own heart and understood that he was not worthy of even lifting his eyes to heaven. The LORD underscores that it was this 'despised publican' rather than the self-righteous Pharisee who was justified before God.

The stiff backed pride of the self-righteous and self-esteem will always find them cast down into the dust, whereas the humble, on bent knees shall know the heights of God's grace and mercy as no other can! This is an essential truth for those who desire to be heard of God and to please Him. 


Rather than groveling in the mud and being humiliated until God is smugly satisfied with such and then deigns to perhaps answer a prayer, to be of a humble heart is simply to acknowledge the truth that God in His supreme holiness is Someone we are wholly unworthy of, that we are by nature sinners and if we are to have any dealings with Him, it cannot be based on justice (because if God enacts justice upon a sinner like me, I am doomed!) but on His grace and mercy.

Humbleness is truthfulness by which I admit that I am a sinner worthy of hell, and entirely unworthy of God. By the same token, I can also admit in total truthfulness that I am a saved saint, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, a child of the King and by Jesus Christ's work, one who is wholly acceptable at the throne of God and incredibly honored to address Him as Abba.

And as I spend time in secret, praying to Abba Father, He in His tender generosity “rewards [me] openly”.

MATTHEW 6:7-8
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him
.

“. . .vain repetitions . . .” is an interesting phrase, particularly in light of the current resurgence of contemplative prayer.
The words “vain repetitions” means “to stutter, to prate tediously, to repeat over and over, to use many idle words, to babble.”

In the Contemplative Prayer/Spirituality Movement and the broader association of the Spiritual Formation Movement*, the repetition of key words and, or phrases is the very means by which one enters into an altered state of consciousness, an emptying of one’s mind (“vanity”) and in so doing, receive visions, inspiration, knowledge from 'God'. It is Hindu-style meditation practices dressed up in Roman (“desert fathers”) Catholic clothes and by no means is it contemplative (which involves thought) nor is it prayer (which is communication with God). It is a dangerous occult technique which can actually invite demonic influences, oppression or even possession or at the very least, spiritual deception.

* See this article by AMOS37 ministries on how Spiritual Formation books and practices are becoming mandatory on Bible college campuses and seminaries!

While Roman Catholic churches are picking up this practice from its ancient shelf and dusting it off for modern use, Evangelicals are shockingly accepting and participating in these spiritual exercises!

For more on this, reserve some time later on and see the following four articles:


IS THIS CHRISTIANITY TODAY? ANCIENT-FUTURE HOLY WAYS OR HERESIES?

BEWARE OF PRAYER – Of the Contemplative Kind: Part One

BEWARE OF PRAYER – Of the Contemplative Kind: Part Two

MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH: CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER And Her Evil Sisters



MATTHEW 6:9-13

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
.

On the issue of prayer, I have often pondered the functionality of prayer. Many have asked before, If God already knows our needs, then why do we need to pray? Others bring up the fact that if we all exercise our free will, then how do our prayers affect them as we direct our intercessions to God for the purpose of repentance and salvation?


While we may uncover some answers from the Scriptures to these and other questions relating to prayer, there are many other things about this legitimate and God-ordained spiritual exercise that we will never know in the course of this life time; perhaps once we arrive in heaven, in our glorified state we shall have the wisdom to understand the finer, more mysterious elements of prayer.
For now, we know that we are obedient to God by praying to Him on all things. Prayer is a form of worship in that we are giving something to God, namely our attention, our petitions, our submission and our acknowledgment of His supreme and almighty power.

After our LORD told us what prayer should not be (“vain repetition”), He then goes on to tell us what it should be by giving us a model to follow. Note in vs. 9 the LORD says, “After this manner therefore pray ye . . .” This is not (necessarily) a prayer that we should pray verbatim, but a guide to show us how to pray. 


It's perplexing to me that right after the LORD told us not to pray in vain repetitions that people have turned this model prayer into that very thing (here I am addressing the tradition of the rosary and how they will repeat this and other prayers with persistent redundancy)!

9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."


Prayer should always be prefaced with worship. Our hearts and minds should be wholly directed to the One with Whom we have to do, and be uncluttered of the daily baggage of our routines so that our focus is not distracted in any way. Worshiping God prepares our hearts and minds for this holy duty and privilege, and so as our LORD stated: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (holy) be thy name...” 


This is not some abstract 'God' as a kind of impersonal force; nor is this a tyrannical pagan god that demands the sacrifice of the proverbial virgin to be plummeted down an angry volcano, until It is sated in the blood of the victim.
This God we worship is a Father to us. The very nurturing, caring, providing and protecting nature of a father is amply and best demonstrated by God Himself. The very best of fathers ever found anywhere on this planet offer mere glimpses of the perfect Fatherhood of God.


It's in this very spiritual truth: “Our Father Who art in heaven” that should bring to us a settled, restful and powerful peace of mind, knowing that any need or even crisis that we will ever face is something that we can bring to the attention of our Father (Who loves us supremely) Who art in heaven (the domain where God visibly demonstrates His almighty power over all His creation).


This God as the Almighty and Holy and Wise and Loving Father has both the motive and ability to care for us in the best way that He knows (and Father knows best!) – growing us up with spiritual maturity, stamina, faith, integrity and a heart that reflects His own.


“...hallowed be Thy Name.” Names have often reflected the nature and character of a person in biblical history. The Name of God is holy, and this is His essential nature. His nature is one which is the very opposite of evil and sin (EX. 3:15; 20:7; 33:19; DEUT. 16:2; 1 SAM. 17:45; 2 SAM. 7:26; PS. 20:1, 5, 7; PS. 29:2; PS. 96:8; 102:5 and many other references).



This is why sins are not merely 'mistakes' but heinous crimes against the very Sovereign, Holy and Almighty Throne and Government of heaven. Sin is spiritual treason which will not and can not be tolerated by the God of holy justice.
Any and every crime against His throne must meet with justice and due penalty and as the Scripture states, “the soul that sins it shall surely die” (EZEK. 18:4). Scripture clarifies this kind of death that the unsaved shall suffer, namely “the second death”:


REVELATION 20:6, 14
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death
.

REVELATION 21:8
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death
.


Ray Comfort of Living Waters ministry often asks people on the street in his interviews: “Have you ever once in your life told a lie?” To which he invariably hears “Yes” in answer. “What does that make you?” Ray asks. Answer: “A liar.”


Note the list above and observe how “all liars” are also going to suffer this second death. Perhaps now we can see how any chance of gaining approval from God and the blessedness of heaven are IMPOSSIBLE by our own human efforts. Our salvation is in JESUS CHRIST ALONE, BY HIS GRACE (EPH. 2:8-9)!


It's really a profound truth that we have no idea what its like to live in a totally holy environment, completely pure of any sin, or corruption or evil, but this is not only the domain of God, it is the very essence of His being!
We saints long for holiness (or we should at any rate!) because it’s as we grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 PET. 3:18) we grow in holiness and are then able to have more intimate fellowship with our LORD and Savior. 


It's a prayer that's worthy of our time to petition God in bringing the church back to a conviction, yearning and walking in holiness and purity because without it, we will never see His face (MATT. 5:8; HEB. 12:-15). Thank God that we are positionally imputed the holiness of Christ in His righteousness and salvation (ROM. 4:4-11, 20:24); may we yield to His work in us and grow in what saints of old have referred to as 'practical holiness', that is, holiness for every day living!

10 "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."


We the church are kings and priests to our God and so it is entirely suitable to pray that His kingdom would come and fill this fallen world, taking the reign back from the god of this world (Satan) and establishing His domain of righteousness. This is what it’s all about: God dwelling with us, having fellowship with us and governing this world with us, His bride at His side. For Israel, this kingdom represents the kingdom of David, or the kingdom of Israel (“the kingdom of/from heaven”) and it shall see its fulfillment (See 2 SAM. 7 and PS. 89 for Scripture on the Davidic Covenant, covered previously in this study) once the Messiah returns and replenishes the earth with reborn splendor.

The kingdom shall NOT be established by the church that would take power away from the nations, compelling them to follow the ways of the LORD in some form of utopian, ‘Christianized’ society as the Dominionists* and Emergents** believe. The kingdom shall be established when the Messiah (“the stone cut without hands” arrives and decimates the one world order ruled by the Beast of Revelation; see DAN. 2:34, 44). Instead, the kingdom established by the Messiah shall be freely given to His saints (DAN. 7:27).

* Dominionism Exposed by Deception in the Church ministry

** See Lighthouse Trails ministry for information on Emergent Church and New Spirituality information; also look at articles here on TTUF using the search engine.

For the church the kingdom is represented by the kingdom of God, which includes the kingdom of heaven, but also all other aspects other than those that involve the Earth. Once the Earth and Heaven of the present (old) order are passed away and a New Earth and New Heavens are created, all shall be submitted to the kingdom of God just as the Son will then be subject to the Father in all things (1 COR. 15:28).


Once God's will shall be done perfectly in the Earth with no variation or distinction from His will being accomplished in heaven, the manifestation of His Kingdom will be realized. The very fact that rebellion and evil are still very much among us means that God's perfect will is not accomplished here, but once Satan, and sin as well as evil and corruption are done away with, such perfection will be unimpeded! Thank You LORD!


11 "Give us this day our daily bread."

Daily provisions are petitioned for here; note it is not weekly or monthly, but daily. Why is this so? Perhaps because the LORD desires for us to keep uppermost in our minds how very dependent we are upon Him. We cannot even breathe but by His Divine provision. Our needs represent more than merely the physical, but the spiritual as well: thus “bread” here may connote “the bread of Life” (JN. 6:35 – the Word of God – as much as or even more so than physical bread.
Consider the words of Job:

JOB 23:12
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food
.

Just as the children of Israel were commanded by the LORD via Moses to go out in the morning and gather manna for their daily provisions (See EX. 16:1-36), so too we are to gather in the Word of God for our daily spiritual nourishment. It’s vital that this partaking of God’s Word be on a daily basis, for the Word is all in all to us: our Light and Love, our Bread and Water, our Milk and Meat, our Refuge and Strength, our Counsel and Comfort and so much more!

Who doesn’t need these things on a regular, daily basis? What saint among our ranks can prosper without feeding on this truly heavenly manna? Never mind if you cannot understand everything you read in the pages of Scripture – the LORD will provide understanding in all that you are required to know in order to conduct yourself among the days challenges and opportunities. Understanding of the Word, if followed by obedience, will lead to greater and deeper understanding.

Daily then let us subsist on the Bread of Life, seeking first God’s Kingdom for our lives and our loved ones, and all other provisions shall be added to us by our LORD’s omnipotent Hand.

12 "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Our LORD said that the one who is forgiven much is the one that loves much (LK. 7:47), and since the LORD has forgiven us ALL of our trespasses, which were nailed to His cross at Calvary, then our love for Him is great! For the sake of this LORD of ours that willingly sacrificed Himself on our behalf, we are motivated to forgive others of their comparatively smaller offences.

Now to put this in perspective, there are those who’ve been the victim of rape; others have conceived children together, and perhaps the biological mother without the consent of the father had an abortion; deep and bitter wounds are inflicted upon those who get a divorce – these and others are obviously and seriously tremendous issues. How can one find it in their hearts to forgive their offenders in such desperate cases?
Humanly speaking, this is practically impossible. Yet in the light of our own offenses against the Infinitely Holy God, these grievous acts, terrible though they be, are not to be compared to those transgressions against the Holy Throne of God. Yet through the LORD Jesus Christ, we are completely and absolutely forgiven of these trespasses, being declared “not guilty” by our Holy Judge, and beyond this, given the Spirit of God, transformed from sinners to saints, from heinous rebels to beloved children by the act of the Spirit of grace!

The Spirit of God can and will enable us to forgive even the worst of crimes committed against us and, or the ones we love. For those who tremble in weakness, unable to find it in their own will to offer such forgiveness, call upon the Name of the LORD and He shall hear your plea and grant you the power by His Spirit to render forgiveness, even to the undeserving.

Forgiveness frees the offended from shackles of bitterness and hatred, even if it does nothing for the offender; but in the best cases, such an expression of mercy has a profound effect on both.
For a real life example of this, read the story of Corrie Ten Boom and how she offered forgiveness through the power of Christ to a concentration camp guard who was personally responsible for much of the misery that Corrie and her deceased sister had endured for so long.

See also LK. 17:3-4; LK. 23:34; ACTS 13:38; ACTS 26:18; ROM. 4:6-8; 2 COR. 2:10.

13 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

The LORD is a strong tower and refuge for us (PS. 46:1; PROV. 18:10), He who presides over all of the affairs of our lives, observing each and every turn upon every road we will travel on. He knows every pitfall, every occasion of stumbling, every opportunity for sin – and we may petition for His protection and guidance in avoiding such temptation. The best way to deal with temptation is to ‘not be there when it happens’. That is to say, “. . . put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof (ROM. 13:14)”.

There are safeguards and blessed parameters we can establish about ourselves through the wisdom and prudence of God, and He has offered us valuable lessons for such in His Word, by the life time examples and experiences of saints who’ve gone before. Such as David of the Psalms:

Six Lethal Levels Leading Into Sin

Not only has the LORD, our Deliverer rescued us from the power of sin, death and hell, but also from the power of “the evil one” and his kingdom of darkness:

COL. 1:12-14
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins
:



The Kingdom belongs to the King; the power belongs to the Almighty; the glory belongs to God – and so it is a worthy expression that ends this model of prayer for us disciples.

In this model prayer we have the opening address to God as our Father, recognizing Him as the authority that reigns from heaven (vs.9).
We bring adoration to Him Who is Holy, for His very Name is hallowed (vs.9).
We petition Him for the kingdom to come, for we understand that until it arrives, this world shall continue further into perdition and depravity in ever increasing and destructive ways (vs.10). 


God’s will is the very best, and once His will is accomplished on Earth and indistinguishable to His will as it is done in heaven, this world will indeed be a paradise (vs. 10).


Man has had thousands of years to prove his abilities of self-rule . . . and has failed miserably! Thus the kingdom and the will of God are most assuredly needed and necessary, for we are as sheep without a shepherd (MK. 6:34)!
We petition the LORD for our needs for He is the LORD Adonai – He who is Almighty in His abilities to provide for any need (vs. 11-12).


We seek His guidance and counsel through this perilous journey of life, surrendering our will for His and following where ever He leads – so that we may safely traverse this world and avoid – in as much as we are willing to die to self – the teeming and tempestuous temptations (as well as the tempter!) all about us (vs. 13).
This model prayer ends as it began – with praise and adoration for our worthy LORD (vs. 13)!

Now that we have completed the examination of this model prayer and all the blessings thus far revealed in Chapter 6, we shall stop here and continue on in verse 14 in our study of MATTHEW. Until then, the LORD Bless and Keep all of you saints in JESUS Name!
Read more!

Monday, November 18, 2013

TYPHOON RELIEF EFFORT IN THE PHILIPPINES



TYPHOON RELIEF EFFORT:

Jane Marie Arabiana was a child seventeen years ago, when she was "adopted" by my husband through Compassion International in the Philippines. Now an adult, Jane Marie has renewed contact with us, her "American Family", and we are seeking help in collecting donations for the relief effort to aid those who have been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  The TRUTH Under Fire has join the effort along with Whitestone Christian Fellowship and are asking for your help!

Those devastated by the recent typhoon are in desperate need. There are hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos. In some areas, there is total devastation. No water, no food, no medical supplies, no shelter, no communication. Literally, everything is wiped out. If you watched the news, you have seen the shocking pictures.

Jane Marie has offered to receive donations on behalf of her local church, The Independent Baptist Church of the Philippines in Cebu City. They are actively involved in collecting and purchasing supplies such as water, food, basic hygiene care, clothing and other necessities to be loaded on trucks and shipped to the more devastated areas.

Our desire is to get these donations into the hands of workers on the ground, to those who can provide relief immediately...and that every penny be spent on the victims.

If you would like more information about donating directly to the Philippine Relief Effort, please message me in our Facebook group, or my personal page.

If you would like to make a donation, please do so through Paypal to the following account:

Paul Kisly - pwk5@cornell.edu -

All donations will then be sent through Western Union directly to the Philippines, in care of Jane Marie. She is our trusted contact, and will facilitate the transfer of funds directly to the relief effort through the Independent Baptist Church in Cebu City.

Will you prayerfully consider contributing to this effort? We pray that local churches in the Philippines will rise to the challenge, minister to the needs of the suffering, and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  May we see the Hand of God at work, and may we see the outpouring of the love of God to the suffering people in the Philippines, through the Church.

Read more!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 5 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE Part 4 of 4

By James Fire

Chapter 5:31-48

We now conclude chapter Five in Matthew in this fourth and final part; we begin this segment by addressing the issues of divorce, oath taking, non-retaliation protocols and others as well.
Let us return to the mount where the LORD is giving His sermon, picking up at verse 31 . . . . 

MATTHEW 5:31-32
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:

32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Here is the standard that the LORD upholds regarding the sacredness of marriage (See MATT 19:3-9). In God’s eyes the marriage ‘unit’ of husband and wife become ‘one’ (a singular unit) and that which God has joined together, humans should not set apart.

We know that God’s work will always produce godly fruit, and if indeed any joining brings forth godly fruit, we can be assured that such joining is God’s holy work in matrimony. If no such godly fruit is forthcoming, repentance is in order, but if this does not occur, such a marriage can never produce fruit for the glory of God.

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Saturday, October 5, 2013

This Little Church Went To Market

by A.M. Kisly

The evangelical church of today is surrounding itself with man-centered philosophies and teachers that are presenting a diluted social gospel, ripe for itching ears. 

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
" (2 Tim 4:3-5)

In a little book called, "This Little Church Went To Market", Mr. Gilley confronts today's believer about the unbiblical methods used to evangelize the lost and thereby altering the course of biblical Christianity.  Rather than stay with the only true standard of doctrine and spiritual growth found in scripture alone, unbelievers are being misled by false evangelism, unchallenged by the gospel, not convicted of sin, provided with a comfortable (worldly) environment where they can be entertained and fed pop psychology sprinkled with Christian terminology.  This is not the gospel of salvation.  This is not the truth we are to feast on.  This junk will do nothing more than feed the fleshly desires of sinners. 

These churches are mass producing false converts with false doctrines for the sake of "church growth" and mega churches which line the pockets of false teachers. 

 
One reviewer said, "This book is a damning indictment of the market-driven churches that are so popular today. Having extensively studied the issues Gilley writes about in this book, I am comfortable saying that this is the best introduction to "the church in the age of entertainment" that I have read. Gilley contends that the church has sold out to our culture so that the influences of the culture have become the influences in the church. The most significant forces pressing against the church are entertainment, market driven philosophies and psychology. These three are largely absent from the Bible, yet are startlingly prevalent in evangelical churches."

 
As I was listening to an interview online by Search the Scriptures radio broadcast, with Tom McMahon and his guest, Gary Gilley (author of the book)
I realized that there cannot be enough warning and admonition against false teaching and false teachers deceiving so many.    This book is being freely offered by the author in pdf format, and because of the importance of the message, we are making this free offer available to all of you.

Free Book Offer:
 

This Little Church Went To Market, by Gary Gilley - pdf download

Search The Scriptures 24/7 Radio Program:

Search The Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon - Guest: Gary Gilley, Pt. 1 

Search The Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon - Guest: Gary Gilley, Pt. 2 










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Sunday, September 22, 2013

THIRD WAVE TSUNAMI OF DECEIT (RIDING The THIRD WAVE INTO The LAST DAYS)

THIRD WAVE TSUNAMI OF DECEIT - Economic Aspect of the Third Wave

We now begin a third article dealing with this Economic Aspect of the Third Wave. Next we shall consider the work and thoughts of Amitai Etzioni, an Italian intellectual and political commentator and a university professor tenured at Columbia and Harvard and his familiar notion of ‘The Three Legged Stool’.
From the writings of Amitai Etzioni:

The Three-legged Stool: A mandatory partnership between the public sector (government), private sector (business), and social sector (community, churches, etc.) -- managed through Global Standards and laws established by national and international governments.”

While governments across the world search for a new political synthesis, the theoretical debate has offered little to those interested in a new framework for progressive politics. This [is] . . . what the Third Way really means, and roots it in a communitarian vision of the good society. It argues that such societies achieve a dynamic balance between state [public sector], market [private sector] and community [social sector]....”


If the idea of a three legged stool sounds familiar to you, it’s because it should! Rick Warren of “Purpose Driven” infamy has long talked of this ideology
in his so-called ‘P.E.A.C.E.’ plan (it’s worthy of note that Mr. Warren currently serves as one of Obama’s spiritual advisors, as does Jim Wallis of Sojourners) that Tony Blair is very enthusiastically endorses (and Rick Warren of this particular Brit).

One very stark implication of this Third Wave movement is that your government’s political involvement where you are concerned will be directly related to your wallet and where you attend church. Authority in these three spheres will merge until what you believe at church will have direct ‘cause and effect’ interaction with your government’s attitude and treatment of you, and this will affect your financial life.

The process of manufacturing this Third Wave will involve the restructuring of government itself, group dialogue at the local, state, national and global levels (but with the intent by the power elite to ‘manage’ such dialogue towards their own goals) and effect moral culture, and family values and concepts.

Who will be steering the world into this Third Wave? It looks like the United Nations will be manning the helm and this, with the approval of statesmen and other officials (elected or more likely appointed leaders); whether it remains as the global leader or if it resolves to the European Union (the ‘reformed Roman Empire’ that is spoken of in Daniel 2:25-45; 33, 40-44) or if the EU will be pulling the UN’s strings, is yet to be seen.


Reviews of Etzioni's latest book: From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations

"It underlines the need of the legitimating United Nations also to seek hard power to enforce its resolutions. As an echo of Kant's Perpetual Peace, Etzioni leads us to the ‘good society' based on both the Western legal tradition and social duties deriving from moral suasion. Etzioni is a bridge-builder by the grace of God."

~ Per Stig Møller, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs


"Amitai Etzioni has constructed a coherent communitarian vision of international relations. From Empire to Community is a pioneering work of vital importance to the formation of a new way of international thinking, relevant to policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic…Amitai Etzioni's new book offers us an inspiring example of the out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to confront these challenges…and launches a crucial debate about the sort of world we are leaving to future generations and how we can best manage problems and grasp opportunities, in ways that are deemed legitimate by both American and European societies."

~ Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands


"In From Empire to Community, Amitai Etzioni applies his communitarian approach to international affairs and foreign policy, attacking liberals to his left and neo-conservatives to his right. He offers a provocative and thoughtful alternative to the triumphalism that has dominated recent discussions about the future of American foreign policy."

~ Joseph S. Nye, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

"His vision of a potential East-West synthesis is particularly compelling. Better still, he is not afraid to tackle the very real challenge of creating genuine institutions to govern a potential global polity. A valuable read for anyone interested in the future of global governance* (emphasis mine)."

* - The preferred term for ‘new world order’ these days.

~ Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

As has been said so many times in history, in so many words, “Show me the money!” And it’s the money of any economy and its intrinsic value that will drive the politics and functionality of its government, as well as the prosperity of the people.

Since its inception, the EU has fluctuated in its GDP and over all productivity levels. Western Europe has generally and historically comprised of the wealthier nations, while Eastern Europe the poorer; much in the same way that the United States has traditionally been more powerful economically than Mexico or even arguably Canada.

After these many years it seems that the economically weaker aspect of the EU has been a drain on the wealthier nations that have tried to bolster them up, but alas, Spain and Greece are still in a woeful state. The EU is not the golden goose that it was promised to be.
There is then, considerable question about whether or not a potential North American Union (with its own weak ally to the south) would fare any better. Even with such agencies as NAFTA and GATT (as previously discussed) appear to absorb more financial power than they generate, granting a mere pittance to Mexico by way of American jobs transported there, thus weakening our own economy (This is something I didn’t understand about the WTO and University students protesting the Twin Towers in NYC while it was being built back in the 70’s. Those students understood the ramifications of the WTO and how it would prove instrumental in taking the heavy industrial jobs in America off shore to poorer nations where their wages would be less than half of their American counterparts; and by this means they would be ‘progressive’ and ‘share the wealth’ – familiar terms today).

Whether one speaks of national American institutions like the IRS or the Federal Reserve or these particular Agreements and border-straddling policies or the globally enabled WTO, the IMF, the Trilateral Commission, the many United Nations Economic entities on an international level, there is an apparent centralization of financial power that flows upward (the famous old expression, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”), sucking dry an ever shrinking middle class and leaving a much poorer lower class in its wake – much like the centralization of governmental power as we have witnessed in our nation for more than five decades now.

What will the power elite do with their ever increasing financial power?


As Ron Ewart of News with Views puts it:

“…The forces trying to control and restrict us and remove our liberties, are not only very powerful, they are international in scope. This Global Cabal of Colluding Entities includes central banks, governments, intelligence communities, large industrial complexes, big corporations, powerful non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and big labor. Those forces, in spite of our alleged Constitutional protections, can spy on you, lock you up indefinitely without charging you with a crime, fine you into bankruptcy, take away your property and your money, or literally make you disappear, especially if you threaten their efforts to control the flow of money and the global economy.”

This Third Wave and its three aspects of religion, government and economics can be seen as a living body: the religious aspect would be its heart; the governmental aspect, its mind; and the economic aspect, its muscles and bones. And the body of global governance via communitarianism is flexing its muscles!

The engagement of this global governance is about to commence all around the world and what we as Christians realize is that when persecution struck the church any time in history, it was virtually always the (many times, pagan) religions that struck out at her. The New Spirituality forming up will likewise oppose biblical Christians and the truth that we wield as will its successor, Babylon, Mystery, Mother of Harlots (Rev. 17th and 18th chapters) and will literally be ‘in league with the devil!’

Thomas Horn* comments in his article from News with Views:

*TTUF does not necessarily endorse all the views of Mr. Horn, but have cited him here as this information is accurate and valid.

“. . . it is not difficult to see how “fleshy gloves” such as U.S. presidents may be unaware of their role as chess pieces on a terrestrial game board sliding in and out of position as they are moved by “the god of this world” toward the phantasmogoric end game (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). If researchers like Dr. Monteith are correct, and world governments are to this day influenced by such dark angelic powers, the elite who head the current push to establish a New World Order are directly connected with an antichrist system whether they know it or not**.
“With vivid testimony to this, Satan offered to Jesus all the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world. He said, “All this power [control] will I give thee, and the glory of them [earthly cities]: for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:6–7).”

**The Brotherhood of Darkness

The LORD rejected Satan’s offer, yet another is coming in his own name (John 5:43), and he will take it up!

By the time that the anti-Christ assumes the central role of power, dominating the political and economic aspects, and will hold the attention of the world’s religious devotion and worship, all three aspects of this ‘Third Wave’ will be firmly in his hand. Every human soul on the planet will essentially be enslaved to his will if they ever hope to survive in the physicality of this world and will receive his mark so that they may buy or sell.
In doing so, they will damn their immortal souls to hellfire:

REVELATION 14:9-11
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name
.



This is one of the reasons why we are producing this series: to demonstrate that these Third Wave Tsunamis are leading inexorably towards the last days scenario in which the political, economic and religious power will be under the authority of the anti-Christ (and the False Prophet), and apart from salvation through the LORD Jesus Christ, there will be no escaping the torment that worshippers of Satan will endure in this world and in the one to come.
Yet even those who will surrender their lives to the LORD will suffer incredible persecution and suffering and martyrdom at this time of the Beast’s global rule (Rev. 6:9-11), but they will gain far greater blessing and reward for doing so, than anything they may suffer and lose in this world (2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rev. 2:8-10).

So, at least as we witness the dismantling of our nation and of the world at large; this ‘brave new world’ that is forming all around us, which bears no resemblance to the world that we grew up in, we will not be taken by surprise. We will understand the progression of this satanic plan to bring about ‘Babylon Reborn’ in all of its sinister splendor and resist its influence in seeking to conform we who are the citizens of heaven, to the ideologies and belief systems of this fallen world.

In the next article, we shall look at how this Economic Aspect of the Third Wave Tsunami is both financing the Religious Aspect just as it is the Political, but also perceive how finances via religion are being used to build this Third Wave.

Until then, Keep your Eyes on the Skies and Don’t Believe the Lies – the LORD Jesus Christ Returns Soon, From on High!
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Burden of Damascus

In the following message, Amir Tsarfati shares Israel's importance in history, God's plan for His Chosen People, and how unfolding current events are confirming everything long foretold in scripture. We are exhorted to prayerfully seek to understand how God is working in the Middle East, and how it is His will that we support Israel.

Amir Tsarfati is a Jewish believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born and raised in Jerusalem and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ after he watched the “Jesus” film during his teens.

He is the director of Behold Israel, (www.beholdisrael.org) a teaching ministry about Israel, Islam, current events and the Middle East. He has consulted work for various law enforcement agencies in the US and has been invited to give seminars on homeland security issues. He is a captain in the Israeli Defense Force Army. He was Deputy governor of Jericho and sat on the panel which negotiated its turnover to the Palestinians. Amir speaks 4 languages, leads tours as a guide and is currently the General Manager of Sar-El Tours. Amir and his family live in Northern Israel.



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Friday, September 13, 2013

A STUDY in ACTS TWO: 42 - FOUR FACETS in the FUNCTION of the CHURCH

FOURTH FACET in the FUNCTION of the CHURCH:

PRAYER – as taught by Josh Boubion

Let’s start off by reading some quotes about prayer . . .

“Work as if you were to live for a 100 years, pray as if you would die tomorrow.”
~ Ben Franklin

“Every great movement can be traced to a kneeling prayer”
~ D.L. Moody

“Our prayers must mean something to us before they be anything to God”
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.”
~ Oswald Chambers

“Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is a greater thing”
~ E.M. Bounds

“Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on their knees.”
~ Unknown

“I would rather teach one man to pray, than ten men to preach.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? DO YOU LIVE THIS KIND OF PRAYER LIFE?

I Want to Address Six Points About Prayer:

1. You must come in prayer having a right relationship with God:
Prayer is the greatest gift man can have!
The richest person cannot give you anything that can equal prayer. To talk with the One that spoke this world into existence; Who commanded and the foundations of this world were created; He spoke and created animals, the stars, and man; He Who commanded the Red Sea to part so that the children of Israel could pass through – this God has given us the privilege of prayer!

In the Old Testament times, in the Tabernacle of God, nobody came into the place of the holy of holies; just the high priest once a year (Yom Kipur), and he came in with the blood of the atonement for the sins of the nation. This was a picture of heaven (Heb. 9:16-28).

The Priest would have to be cleansed, and without sin, otherwise he would die! Nobody can come into His presence unless he is perfect. However, nobody is perfect, because we are all sinners: Rom 3:23 (For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
Yet the LORD Jesus Christ died on the cross, He shed His blood, and now through Him you can be authorized with the privilege of coming into His presence, to the very Throne of God (Heb. 4:16)!

When a mother sheep died, and had a baby lamb that needed milk, you couldn’t give that lamb to another mother (whose own lamb died); she would not accept it. So what the shepherds would do is to cut some of the wool off the dead baby lamb from that mother and put it on the live baby lamb, and the mother would smell the lamb and say come on in and be comforted and nourished.

Likewise we can now come in to the holy of holies since Jesus covered you by His blood. Its through His Name you are saved and we become members of the Good Shepherd’s sheepfold!

JOHN 14:12-14

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it
.

Nobody has the right to come into the presence of God, no matter how good they feel. Only through Jesus Christ you come in. You come humbly in the Name of Jesus in humility.

2a. You have to come in the Presence of God having a right relationship with people:

MARK 11:22-26 


22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses
.


Whenever you pray for anything you must have the right heart before you can pray. Whatever happened today forgive that person tonight so that your prayers won’t be hindered. God gives us His forgiveness so don’t be a ‘get even’ person, be a forgiveness person.


[Note from J. Fire: I always remember this admonition from a pastor I once knew – “Before you even have the chance to get up out of bed, settle it in your heart beforehand that long before anyone offends you during the day, you have determined that just as Christ has forgiven you all trespasses, that you will likewise forgive them, no matter what, for Christ’s sake.”
There are those who believe that vs. 26 in the above texts is proof that salvation can be lost due to unforgiveness in the heart; yet note carefully that the familial relationship is not negated; it’s our heavenly Father that won’t forgive – yet no one can call God “Father” unless they are born of His Spirit; what is lost here is not oneness in Christ by His Spirit, or “communion”; rather fellowship due to sin. Fellowship can only be restored by acknowledgement of sin and repentance from it.]


1 PETER 3:7

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.


2b. You need to have right relationships with those closest to you! They have to be right before God! 


God observes everything; He hears you and sees your heart, so this short circuits your prayers when you harbor unforgiveness towards others.
It’s like you’re shooting blanks on the spiritual battlefield when you have unforgiveness in your heart and your prayers are then hindered. The way to reload is to go back to that person whoever they may be, admit and say you were wrong (repent and correct the issue)!
Humility is essential in being a man or women of God, such a person can expect answered prayer (Psalm 9:11-13; 1 Peter 5:5). You have to be willing to go and search out that person until reconciliation is made.
Humility is painful but it is powerful. Proud people can’t do this; they walk in shame and experience a life of unanswered prayer.



3. You have to come in with a right request; that is, praying in accord with God’s holy will: 


JAMES 4:3-4 


You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend [it] on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.


God does not listen to His enemies who might petition Him in (vain) prayer. You are to have the right request not wrong ones. He will not do anything that will hurt another, or His kingdom, nor will God harm you by answering unwise prayers; He loves you!
Prayer is man knocking on God’s door; the knocking is expressed in asking and seeking. Jesus wants us to ask Him for things and to be persistent in asking and not give up.


LUKE 11:5-13


5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


We are to continue asking and knocking. This parable addresses a contrast about such a negative ‘grouchy guy’ to a loving Heavenly Father.


v.5-8 Three friends are here portrayed:
1. One is at home asleep.
2. Another arrives from journey.
3. One is asked for bread.


The first gets a knock on the door for a loaf of bread and he answers, “Leave me alone I am in bed already. Its midnight! The door is bolted shut.” Nobody would want to open the door. Nobody wants to get up once they’re sleeping.
“Importunity” in the Greek is only used here, nowhere else in NT; it means “persistence, shamelessness, no regard for others, rude”.


He did not give this man any bread because he liked him, or because he was a good friend but, because he wanted to get rid of him.
So the contrast is of attitude: this man gave from an attitude of being annoyed; but God gives to us from an attitude of love and because He is faithful to His Word.


2 Timothy 2:13 


If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself
.


God’s faithfulness is not dependent on us; we are messed up people; He gives because of His nature of grace and love and tender mercies!
How much more would God give you being that He is a faithful, loving, and kind Father, and our chiefest Friend?

LUKE 11:9-10 


9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened
.


“Ask seek and knock”, is a command to continue, constantly praying. Not that you can change God’s mind, or get Him to change His will to do ours. That is not the reason for prayer.


[Dave Hunt once observed that people believe they “can change God’s mind or get Him to do their will if they fast until the answer they want arrives; but that isn’t a prayerful fast, that’s a hunger strike!” J. Fire]


Two Reasons Why We Pray and Continue in them:


1. To show our dependency upon God - as we continue praying we are saying, God I can’t do this without You. So you cry out to God every day and night. It shows us we are insufficient; see 2 Cor 3:5-6 (we are useless by ourselves. There is no good thing in you; that means nothing good can come from you).
2. It shows the faithfulness of God - it brings us to the place where God shows Himself faithful (Lam. 3:23), as we continue praying and asking. He desires to bless you more then you want to be blessed. God desires to show Himself faithful in each of our lives.

LUKE 11:11-13


11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


We give good gifts to our children and we are evil (Jere. 17:9) how much more will our Holy and Benevolent Abba Father!


JAMES 1:17 


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
.

4. When you pray have faith (trusting, believing).


MARK 11:23-24 


For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them
.


There is nothing impossible for God


HEBREWS 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
.


•Praising and worshipping God is a form of prayer (communicating to God) and will build your faith, (To enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; Psalm 100:4).
[Too often when we approach God in prayer, the need or burden seems so overwhelming, but the ‘giant’ isn’t as big as we think – we need the right perspective, and worship of God focuses our attention on Him: His almighty power and sovereignty and majesty. From these holy heights we then gain a proper perspective of our problems and realize from the LORD’s vantage point, these are not giants but midgets! J. Fire]


Learn the promises of God as found in His Word; this will also build your faith (Rom. 10:17). [The Word of God works effectively in our hearts and lives as we sow abundantly with this sanctified seed of the Savior, and from such sowing we can expect abundant harvesting, some of such fruit will be found in the fruit of answered prayer! See 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:8).

5. You have to be able to listen to God in Obedience through Humility.


It’s not about just talking in your prayers but listening prayer. Just open your Bible and see what God has to say. God does not just want to be talked to. But also He wants to talk back to you [Communicating with God is a dialogue, not a monologue!]. Pray to glorify God, to increase your faith, to communicate with God!


-What was your focus today in getting ready to head out from your home and face the day? Was it your exercise program? Or perhaps it was fixing your hair? Checking your stocks and bonds? Getting on the phone and talking to your favorite person?
Or was it in getting into prayer to the Lord and focus our hearts in attention to His Word?
• He is a speaking God.
• Don’t be afraid to listen, when He says “stay!” then stay! Or if He says, “Go!” then go! Or “Speak!” then speak!

6. Hold on, continue praying! Never give up! When you start, continue!


Continue praying for family members, friends, all people till you die.
God is raising up an army; an army that marches as soldiers of the Cross, on our knees.

Some more considerations on prayer by James Fire based on:

LUKE 18:1- 14
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


Judges are people of power; by their decisions people’s lives are affected. In many cases the issues of life and death are in their hands. The widow approached this judge because she recognizes his authority, had confidence that he could help her, and didn’t divide her attention between petitioning him and some other recourse of action that might prove helpful.
In our prayer lives its essential that we recognize the authority of the LORD Jesus Christ, place total confidence in Him – no matter what He may decide, regardless if He answers our prayers to our liking or not – and to resort to Him alone and no other, if we are to see spiritual victory in our lives.


There seems a contradiction between the LORD who “bears long” with us who pray day and night, or even months and years (perhaps even decades) and with His promise that we will be avenged “speedily”.
Once again we must remember that we are creatures of time, and God is the God of eternity. From His vantage point all prayers throughout all history (past and future) are heard and answered already from His Holy Throne of Absolute and Sovereign Authority and Power. It’s we who struggle through the burden of our temporal existence and must endure this long distance race with patience (Heb. 12:1).


God doesn’t always respond to our prayers based on our time table, thus we must persevere in prayer (or as the saints of former times would say, “pray it through!”).

On the issue of our prayers being heard of God, we have the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Its worthy of note to see who our LORD chose as the two examples in this parable: a Pharisee and a publican – the former revered and the latter despised in that society; one esteemed as being wholly worthy to have their prayers heard and the other not even having an audience with the Almighty.
And yet our LORD stated that it was the publican and not the Pharisee that was heard of God and was justified!

Look at this Pharisee praying, and carefully observe what it exactly states: “The Pharisee stood and prayed . . .” before God? No! “. . . thus with himself”! This religious man who made sure every Lawful ‘T’ was crossed and every “I” dotted had an audience of just one – and that wasn’t God! For this man who boasted of all that he did as proof of his righteousness; he compared himself to others and came out on top! He started listing his accomplishments and the way this is stated, one almost gets the idea that if not for the fact that he was ‘interrupted’ as our focus turned to the publican we would have heard a lot more of his self-righteous claims in a spirit of pride.

The publican however wouldn’t even lift up his head, but confessed his sinfulness in a spirit of humility.

Does this mean that God won’t hear us unless we humiliate ourselves and grovel before him long enough until He is satisfied?
Cynics and atheists have long made this claim based on this passage, but this just isn’t the case. People have the wrong idea about humbleness. Humbleness isn’t about thinking of yourself lowlier than you really are (that would be a lie) – it’s thinking clearly about what exactly you are and that in the Light of God’s holiness.


It’s true that I am an absolute sinner, unworthy of God or even a moment of His time; and that I am entirely worthy of hell and eternal punishment based upon ‘my own merit and righteousness’ (a real fantasy)!
It’s also true that I am a saint, a child of God, seen by the Father as completely holy and in just as much right standing before Him as His own Begotten Son, the LORD Jesus Christ – based NOT upon my merit, but on that merit which is Christ’s – transferred to my account by His supreme sacrifice on the Cross! I can say both statements with absolute humbleness and my prayers are heard of the GOD of all creation.

So in our prayer lives – let’s remember in addition to what Joshua Boubion taught about these and all the other important points, these two primary factors for spiritual victory in our prayer closets: perseverance and humbleness!
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Sunday, September 1, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 5 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE Part 3 of 4

MATTHEW Chapter 5:17-30

There are scores of churches that resound with absolute conviction, certainty and joy that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, apart from the Law – that we are free from the Law and solely under God’s abounding grace! And so it is, just as Paul described:

ROMANS 6:14-15
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

And again in Galatians:

GALATIANS 2:20-21
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

So then the Christian no longer need to concern himself with the Law of God because the Law of God is done and over for the church, right?

Well . . . yes and no . . .

*~Again, we return to the Mount where the King is delivering His sermon, having completed the Beatitudes and the Similitudes, the LORD then addresses this issue of Law:

MATTHEW 5:17-19
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Once more we need to remind ourselves that we are in the Gospel of Matthew, not Mark or Luke or John, and that the themes of these respective Gospel accounts address different people groups and reveals different aspects of the Messiah and His ministry. 


Of Matthew’s account this the Message of the Messiah to Israel regarding the kingdom that was promised to her under the Davidic Covenant (2 SAM 7; PSALM 89). Indeed, this is Holy Scripture and applicable for the Christian for all of its spiritual truth, yet this does not abrogate the essential purpose of Matthew’s Gospel – a presentation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Messiah to and for the people of Israel.

In that Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of David, the Kingdom of heaven that will be manifest at the time when the King is revealed and establishes His kingdom for the thousand years over Israel (commonly known as the Millennium), these edicts and principles as set forth by the LORD Jesus Christ will be entirely in force and operating, so long as this Earth remains and likewise the stars above (note vs. 18 in our current text of Matthew) i.e. at the close of the Millennium.


We know that this planet and the entire universe for that matter will one day be dissolved and “the elements will melt with fervent heat” (ISAIAH 65:17; 66:22; 
2 PET 3:10,12) and once these old things are gone, replaced with “all things new” (2 PET 3:13) then the Law will have fulfilled its purpose, and what exactly that is, we shall soon see.

Time for a bit of word study in the Greek – let’s find out what these certain words mean in the original; words like “destroy” and “fulfil” in regards to “the law”:


The word “destroy” in the Greek is katalyo, and it means “to loosen down (disintegrate), i.e. (by implication) to demolish (literally or figuratively), to halt for the night – destroy, dissolve, be the guest, lodge, come to naught, overthrow, throw down, the overthrowing of institutions, forms of government, laws; to deprive of force, abrogate, discard, to halt for the night [with the implication of beginning one’s journey again in the morning].”


Let us understand that these various shades of meaning of the word “destroy” will not find realization “until all be fulfilled” and it’s only when all is fulfilled that the heavens and earth will be allowed by God to pass away!


Any who would not honor the Law of God will not be honored by God, but these shall be called “least” in the Kingdom of heaven and by the same token, those who obey the law and teach others to do so, shall be the most highly honored by God! Again, we can see the fulfillment of these things transpiring once the King arrives and His kingdom – with His Holy Law, established in Israel and in the world at large, under the magnificent ruler-ship of the LORD Jesus Christ, Y’shua ha Meshiach Nagid.


The other word we want to consider is “fulfil” (sic); pleroo in the Greek which means “to make replete, i.e. (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: - accomplish, after (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply. To cause to abound, to furnish or supply liberally, to render full, to complete, filled to the top so that nothing shall be wanting, to full measure, fill to the brim; to consummate; a number to make complete in every particular, to render perfect, to carry into effect, bring to realization, realize: of matters of duty, to perform, execute; of sayings, promises, prophecies, to bring to pass, ratify, accomplish; to cause God’s will (as made known in the Law) to be obeyed as it should be and God’s promises (given through the prophets) to receive fulfillment.”


The LORD Jesus Christ stated, that He came not to destroy the Law but to fulfill the Law and considering what these words mean in their original language, this will help us greatly to understand what He was saying, and we shall examine the Scriptures to further this study and our own comprehension (and LORD willing, our apprehension!) of these awesome and deep truths!
Why was the Law of God given to Israel, and in a more general application – to the people of this world? Paul reveals this to us in 1st Timothy:


1 TIMOTHY 1:9
9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers.

The Holy Law of God reveals to us our own spiritual condition: that of abject poverty, unrighteousness, sinfulness and spiritual impurity (ROM 3:20; 7:13-14; HEB 10:1), and it can do nothing to restore, cure or heal our hearts of sinfulness, because they are incurable (“desperately wicked” as it states in JER 17:9).

However, there is one Man who was (and is) perfectly righteous, sinless and possesses absolute spiritual purity, and He – and only He – can and did fulfill (replace this word “fulfill” with the descriptive definitions of this word in the Greek to full appreciate the LORD’s ability to fulfill) the righteous requirements of the Law; He who is the “King of Righteousness” (HEB 1:8; 7:1-2,15-17; PSALM 110), the LORD Jesus Christ. 


Since we are powerless to obey the Law to perfection, as Christ did, His vicarious death for our sins, that is, His substitutionary death on the cross as He bore the sins of all humanity upon Him and the judgment for those sins by the Father were done away with; then the righteousness that is inherent in Christ Jesus was imputed to us who express faith in His finished work on the cross (2 COR 5:21) – this insurmountably awesome deed was accomplished and proven effective by the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead (1 COR 15:14-23).


ROMANS 8:2-4
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There are two “Laws” mentioned here: “the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and also “the law of sin and death”. By the first we are able to live in righteousness granted by Christ, and fulfill the holiness and righteousness required by the Law but ONLY by the power of the Spirit! The Law of God as given by Moses the Lawgiver, which is holy, was in a sense weak because it provided no means whatsoever whereby we could present ourselves as righteous before God; it could only reveal our own sinfulness.

This was the same problem that Israel dealt with in the Old Testament, for according to the Mosaic Covenant (DEUT 28), they would enjoy the blessings of God in the land of Israel and all that this entails, if only they were obedient to the Law. 


Yet because they were not (and could not), the Mosaic Covenant was broken, and this brought about God’s judgment, and thus the need for a new covenant (or testament) that would be established not on obedience to the Law (which came by Moses) but by faith, such as that which was displayed by Abraham (who found acceptance by God because of such faith, 400 years before the giving of the Law; GAL 3:16-22):


JEREMIAH 31:31-34
31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith theLORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Thus this new covenant will succeed where the old one ‘failed’ – at least in the sense of its ability to bring in righteousness employable by the people of Israel, because God Himself will write His Law “in their inward parts” and as well as the Law, so too will God bring to His people His indwelling Spirit:


EZEKIEL 36:26-28
26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Once born of the Spirit of God in this manner, Israel shall indeed “walk in [God’s] statutes” and “keep [His] judgments and do them” when once the Messiah returns and establishes His kingdom, just as the church is now able to follow and obey the commands of the LORD Jesus Christ because we are now that “holy nation” (1 PET 2:9) which enabled by God’s Spirit to do so!

Here is some helpful commentary from Scofield’s notes that brings a greater and clearer scope of understanding to our present text:

Christ's relation to the law of Moses may be thus summarized:


(1) He was made under the law: GAL 4:4.
(2) He lived in perfect obedience to the law: JOHN 8:46; MATT 17:5; 1 PET 2:21-23.
(3) He was a minister of the law to the Jews, clearing it from rabbinical sophistries, enforcing it in all its pitiless severity upon those who professed to obey it (e.g.): LUKE 10:25-37 but confirming the promises made to the fathers under the Mosaic Covenant: ROM 15:8.
(4) He fulfilled the types of the law by His holy life and sacrificial death: HEB 9:11-26.
(5) He bore, vicariously, the curse of the law that the Abrahamic Covenant might avail all who believe: GAL 3:13-14.
(6) He brought out by His redemption all who believes from the place of servants under the law into the place of sons: GAL 4:1-7.
(7) He mediated by His blood the New Covenant of assurance and grace in which all believers stand: ROM 5:2; HEB 8:6-13 so establishing the "law of Christ" GAL 6:2 with its precepts of higher exaltation made possible by the indwelling Spirit.”


In a connotative sense “the Law” refers not just to the Mosaic Law as the LORD gave to him on Mt. Sinai, but to the general revelation of the Word of God through the LORD’s holy prophets (PSALM 19:7-8; see also PSALM 119 and note such words as "law, precepts, ordinances, statutes" etc). 


In this sense, the Christian is to observe the Law in that the truth of God’s Word is revealed for our learning – and obeying; yet this is not something that procures salvation: this is still obtained by the grace of God through the shed blood of the LORD Jesus Christ. This is something that we observe and obey as a result of our salvation and in our God-given ability to “walk in the Spirit” and “in truth” and in “righteousness”. See GAL 5:16; 2 JOHN 1:4; 3 JOHN 1:4; ROM 8:3-5.

Continuing in our study then, let’s pick up in verse 20 and on:


MATTHEW 5:20-22
20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
21 Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

I’m quite certain that those that heard these statements from the mouth of the LORD must have been stunned to hear them. Everyone regarded the Pharisees (and the scribes) as those ‘super-saints’ who made it their business to study and obey the Law 24/7, and yet here was the Messiah telling them that their righteousness must exceed theirs!


How could such a thing be possible? Precisely as we have examined just now – the righteousness of the people couldn’t be of the lesser quality of these religious hypocrites or even of those few who sincerely tried to live up to the Law, but by that righteousness which is of the LORD Himself:


ISAIAH 54:17
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

This is the proof text that reveals religion for all of its weakness and inabilities in transforming a person from sinner to saint, from unrighteous to righteous, from ungodly character to godly – only the LORD Himself can do such miracles and bring eternal transformation that literally makes us new people (beginning with our hearts, then minds, and one day, our bodies!).
Religion will always appeal to man’s own abilities and work to achieve a right position before Deity, and the Pharisees likewise mangled the Law of God which judges the heart, to mere religious externalism, just as our LORD addresses in these verses.

Note He speaks to the people saying, “You have heard that it has been said” (vs. 21, 27) and “it hath been said” (vs. 31, 33, 38, 43); most people in those days didn’t know how to read, much less able to read Hebrew which is what the Torah was written in (similar to the time of the Dark Ages when the Bible was only written in Latin [Bibles written in any common language, they destroyed] – the language only understood and read by Roman Catholic priests and scholars). 


Thus any learning from the Scriptures was from what they were told that the Scriptures said (and not at all necessarily what it really said) or they were given oral traditions, which in those days were esteemed as more authoritative than the Scriptures themselves (There are those who are extreme in their Calvinism that seem to have a higher regard for their revered teachers, and study and quote them more so than the Word of God).

So these religious leaders felt that as long as they were obedient to the Law in any overt action or deed or refraining from those that were unlawful, they were in right standing with God. Its often said today, “I’m not that bad of a sinner; it’s not like I killed anybody,” and yet the LORD addresses the matters of the heart, where sin is conceived in a sinner: Are you “…angry with [your] brother without a cause…”

Note the terms “judgment day” and “hell fire” which if understood in context, carries with them no sense whatsoever of allegory or mere metaphor. If one reads in a straightforward manner, the reality of such things may be clearly understood.
See MATT 25:31-32; 2 PET 2:9; 3:7; 1 JOHN 4:17; JUDE 1:14-15; REV 20:12.

Universalism is a false doctrine that is gaining ground; and its tenets state that no one is going to hell or be judged and therefore condemned, but rather, every one will (eventually) be saved. However this is against the whole counsel of Scripture; here is the first in a series of articles entitled CHRIST’s COURT – SOON IN SESSION where we deal with this and related issues on TTUF.


MATTHEW 5:23-26
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
25 Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
26 Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.

I think we’ve all heard the saying, “I love God so much! It’s those Christians that I can’t stand!” and yet the LORD had admonished us through the apostle John that we cannot truly claim to love the LORD unless there is evidence in our lives of love for the brethren:

1 JOHN 4:19-21
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Our relationships with one another are of profound importance to the LORD! Even so much that if we are ready to surrender a sacrificial gift to Him, yet there is a saint somewhere that has something against us, something that we have done or said that offended them and caused a breach between us – we are not to let such things lie, but deal with them and seek reconciliation before we proceed in our offerings to the LORD.

This is something we do well to consider when we make our tithes and offerings to the LORD as well as times during communion when we ought to search our hearts and repent of anything sinful. The fundamental doctrine of communion was recently covered by a good brother in the LORD (and one that I regularly fellowship with at church), Kyle Peart. Here is his teaching on Communion on TTUF.

We ought to maintain a humble heart, not proud or arrogant, displaying belligerent characteristics, but conciliatory for those we might consider our adversaries; particularly where we may be at fault in owing something to another. If we will not see to reconciliation of debts and wrongs owed to others now, we can be assured we will answer for them in eternity, where – without Christ as the Advocate, there will be no dismissal of the case against us.

From Jamison, Fausset and Brown we have further commentary:

25. Agree with thine adversary--thine opponent in a matter cognizable by law.
quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him--"to the magistrate," as in LUKE 12:58 .
lest at any time--here, rather, "lest at all," or simply "lest."
the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge--having pronounced thee in the wrong.
deliver thee to the officer--the official whose business it is to see the sentence carried into effect
.

“26. Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, fill thou hast paid the uttermost farthing--a fractional Roman coin, worth about half a cent. That our Lord meant here merely to give a piece of prudential advice to his hearers, to keep out of the hands of the law and its officials by settling all disputes with one another privately, is not for a moment to be supposed, though there are critics of a school low enough to suggest this.

The concluding words--"Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out," &c.--manifestly show that though the language is drawn from human disputes and legal procedure, He is dealing with a higher than any human quarrel, a higher than any human tribunal, a higher than any human and temporal sentence. In this view of the words--in which nearly all critics worthy of the name agree--the spirit of them may be thus expressed:

"In expounding the sixth commandment, I have spoken of offenses between man and man; reminding you that the offender has another party to deal with besides him whom he has wronged on earth, and assuring you that all worship offered to the Searcher of hearts by one who knows that a brother has just cause of complaint against him, and yet takes no steps to remove it, is vain:

"But I cannot pass from this subject without reminding you of One whose cause of complaint against you is far more deadly than any that man can have against man: and since with that Adversary you are already on the way to judgment, it will be your wisdom to make up the quarrel without delay, lest sentence of condemnation be pronounced upon you, and then will execution straightway follow, from the effects of which you shall never escape as long as any remnant of the offense remains unexpiated."

It will be observed that as the principle on which we are to "agree" with this 'Adversary' is not here specified, and the precise nature of the retribution that is to light upon the despisers of this warning is not to be gathered from the mere use of the word "prison"; so, the remedilessness of the punishment is not in so many words expressed, and still less is its actual cessation taught. The language on all these points is designedly general; but it may safely be said that the unending duration of future punishment --elsewhere so clearly and awfully expressed by our Lord Himself, as in MATT 5:29-30 , and MARK 9:43,48 -- is the only doctrine with which His language here quite naturally and fully accords. (Compare MATT 18:30,34)."


MATTHEW 5:27-30
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 
29 And if thy right eye offends thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offends thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Again the LORD compares the external nature of religious prohibitions against adultery, with the spiritual reality of the heart of humanity and the lusts and sinful temptations such is heir to. It’s quite significant that by looking, this invites lusting, and lusting in one’s heart reveals a sinful nature which will inevitably, given time and opportunity lead to sin, and death; judgment and hell.

On the issue of sin and it’s deadly ability to seduce with people that have that accompanying nature, have a look at this article FROM the MIND of FIRE:

SIX LETHAL LEVELS OF SIN


Consider the following: sin is so devastating in its causes and effects, and the results of engaging in it, that it took no one less than the Son of God (not an angel or a cherub or a specially created being for the purpose of redemption) – God made flesh – to end its deadly power over us! If we think we can hold out and battle against sin in our own strength, we are only deceiving ourselves.
This is why we must be radical in dealing with sin; we cannot afford to ‘play with it’ and entertain it for a while. We must be ruthless in ridding it from our lives, and that by the power of God’s Spirit Who alone can grant us the spiritual resolve to do so.

If our possessions, precious though they may seem to us – even our right eye or our right hand – causes us to sin, we should eradicate them from our lives rather than allow them their place and thus cause us to fall into their pernicious flames of destruction. As indicated in the FMF article above, this doesn’t mean that we should start gouging out eyes and hacking off hands, because obviously we can just as well sin with our left eye and hand. Our bodies aren’t the issue, it’s the sin nature that rules them. One could never find spiritual victory in slicing and dicing off parts of the body any more than tattooing Scripture verses on them!

What must be destroyed is our sin nature, and this is accomplished ultimately by the Cross when once we are delivered by these “bodies of death” when its ruling nature of depravity is no more. Until that time, we who are born of God’s Spirit are no longer ruled by such, though we may submit to that base nature by having a will to do so. We have two options: either walk in the Spirit (of God) or walk in the flesh (of our sinful nature). By identifying with the Cross of Christ, we can “reckon” or take into account that by faith in God’s Word we are dead with Christ, dead to the draw and impulses of sin, and share new life by His resurrection to live in victory over sin’s power (ROM 6:10-12)!


ROMANS 6:16
16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Please read the following chapter in its entirety: ROMANS 6:1-23.

Once again, the LORD makes a reference to perishing and hell; where the LORD repeats Himself in such a manner, we do well to pay close attention, for when it comes to heaven and hell, life and death – we are ‘playing for keeps’ here!
As I often say to people, “there are no exit signs in hell”. For an article on the doctrinal truth of the existence of hell, please refer to the previously mentioned article CHRIST’S COURT – SOON IN SESSION; enclosed in that article is a link, the article of which is entitled AS SURE AS HELL.

However, the length of this article is such that I must make my own exit now! And we shall resume and complete Chapter Five of Matthew in the next study!
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