HOW DOES A NEW CREATURE ACT? part one
Matthew 5:13-16 & 6
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do — blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.“
“But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.
“But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
“Pray like this:
Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.
“But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.
“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!
“No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life — whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.“
We are considering the contrast of God’s ways versus our ways. In the last issue we looked at the contrast in Matt 5:17-32 as a foundation for breaking free from our perspective enough to actually see God’s perspective. Jesus challenged us to move the ‘SIN BARRIER’ to our inner man, our heart, a prerequisite for seeing from His point of view.
Now let’s look at the contrast of God’s ways and our ways with a goal to see the practical application. In other words, to just acknowledge His ways are very different from ours opens the door to real insight into who His is. And that’s a wonderful thing! But to actually exchange our thoughts and actions for His in everyday practice – that’s the real goal!
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.“
Jesus did not come to demonstrate the life of a super-human. He came to show us what a really normal human acts like. To find out who our Father is and that our Family still exists is good news! Even better news is that our Dad has been calling for us and has made all the arrangements for our reunion with Him and the rest of the Family.
Our Family had been kidnapped in ancient times. You and I were born in captivity and the only culture we’ve known is our captor’s. So an encounter with One of our real Family would seem strange and wonderful indeed! Jesus is that One, our big Brother who is King of all kings and Lord of all lords for He is the human Son of our Father, the living Creator-God, born to a human mother, the Seed of the Holy Spirit; so that we, the Family in captivity, can be born again of the Holy Spirit and be re-initiated into our real Family.
Now once that happens we immediately have, already laid out for us, our big Brother’s human life and words – the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Standard by which we are to measure our Family-likeness. It is apparent that we can accept this good news to be true and profess verbally the “lordship of Jesus Christ” and never actually activate the exchange of our life for His. This is most unfortunate because the point has always been the “exchange” of the whole life, from the inside out, culminating with the outer proclamation our outer, out-loud actions and words.
Jesus’ life speaks to us. It says, “Here’s the way we, God’s Family, talk and think and respond.”
Jesus personally says, “Now there are many members of the Family that need to be rescued before your kidnappers are judged. So, what I want you to do is live this (MY) Life, the way our Family lives, here in this captive culture so that I can, through you, contact every member of the Family. I know that’s impossible for you since all you know is the life of your captors, so I personally will come, Me and your Dad, and make our home hidden in your heart. From that secret place inside you, We’ll handle all the operations of your everyday life, orchestrating it with the rest of the Family’s lives. In the mean-time you can rest in the confidence that We know what We are doing. That will free you to give your attention to your new priorities; getting better acquainted with Dad and Me and carrying out the simple tasks We put in your hands every day.”
Jesus continues, “When I’m living there in you, don’t expect Me to even entertain thoughts that would lead you to do something I wouldn’t do. You won’t murder anyone because I will not hold on to hard feelings or vindictive thoughts toward anyone. You won’t fall into some sensual trap because I wouldn’t ever look at another human being as an object to use to satisfy some appetite of My Body or Mind. You won’t lie because I know what is and what isn’t, and I’ll help you rest in that. So if it’s “yes” or if it’s “no,” you can just say it like it is. Your life won’t be complicated by defense systems, insurance against loss, theft and abuse because now through you, I’ll be able to love and bless even the most abusive enemy. That’s just the way we are.”
“Furthermore, when we reach out and help someone we don’t do it so everyone will see and pat us on the back. When we pray, it’s a private, one-on-one conversation with Dad. And when we talk to Him that’s where we do our forgiving and forgetting. When we fast, only Dad knows. Our stuff is all at our eternal address, Dad’s House. We don’t worry about material provision for our focus is single. We serve one Master, and we’re living each moment to the max with Him.”