The Heart of God (episode I)October 17, 2007
Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
For some time now, I’ve been minded to begin this series of posts, however, two accounts in Brother Andrews latest book “Secret Believers” accelerated this idea. In both accounts (I’ve still only read about 25%) muslims in the middle east read about Jesus. One man, upon receiving a copy of the gospels, became fascinated as he read of his miracles, his loving nature, and how he placed the well-being of others above that of himself. One day “something happened.” An understanding as it were and in the mosque, right after prayer and before the message was given, he asked the imam “why don’t we ever talk about the greatest prophet ever Isa? (Jesus) When I look at him, I see God!” WOW! Quite a revelation and quite a venue to profess faith in Jesus; a profession that now has his family seeking to end his life. (Islam is not a peaceful religion as the politically correct folks proclaim; it is one of Satans most masterful deceptions)
The other account involves a muslim who reads the sermon on the mount and, once again, becomes fascinated with Jesus. His nature is so different than the teachings of Mohammad and he was drawn to faith in Christ. The gospel of Jesus Christ; the simple unadulterated truth of a Savior come from glory to save a wretch like me. This truth brought these two men to Jesus. No theology, no ten-step program, no bells and whistles. Because of the second testimony mentioned here, I’m desiring to go through Matthew chapters 5-7. It will take several posts and they won’t be done back to back as to leave room for other ponderings. Yet this portion of scripture is incredibly powerful and always a joy to read.
A person with absolutely no awareness of the gospel could pick up a new testament, begin reading, and learn a lot from the very first chapters of Matthew. In chapter one, they would see an outline of his lineage and in verses 17-18 discover that God has a specific timetable. Everything goes according to supernatural design; not haphazardly. (No big bang) Then that person would discover that the birth of Jesus was, in itself, a supernatural event. He was born of a virgin; something that, in the natural, just doesn’t happen. In verse 22, they would find out that this event was fortold and thereby validating the scriptures.
In chapter two, they would learn of the events surrounding his birth and the efforts of the wicked one to end his life right from the beginning. One common misconception, portrayed by movies and tradition, is that the wise men, the shepherds, and the star, all converged at the same time over the manger. The shepherds were told by angels and went to the manger. There was no star over the manger. The star guided the wise men from the east who arrived sometime later at a house. (Nonetheless, I liked the movie “Nativity”)
In chapter three, we meet John the baptist, the messenger who is also told of in scripture, and we see Jesus coming to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. In chapter four, we learn that Jesus is tempted in all points and yet without sin. At his weakest moment, after fasting for forty days, the devil tempts him by appealing to his hunger. Jesus defeats him with the scriptures at each temptation. Later on , we see where he calls his disciples who “straightway leave their means of physical sustainance” and follow him. Finally in verse 23, he’s preaching and healing all manner of illnesses. So one can learn a great deal about who Jesus is even before reaching the sermon on the mount.
Matthew 5:1-5 “And seeing the multitude, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came to him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
This was quite a statement and quite a revelation of just how upside down this world is. We tend to honor physical strength and adore those who have confidence in themselves. Yet Jesus stated that the poor in spirit and the meek are the ones who are truly blessed. Throughout the gospels, and throughout scripture, this truth is revealed time after time.
Psalm 130:5-6 “I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I trust. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning.
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
To “hunger and thirst” after righteousness. When we hunger for something we pursue it with a fervor. I remember my navy days when fasting became a practice. The first several hours were great, however, increasingly, thoughts of food would enter my mind as time went on. Even stuff that I didn’t like would sound tasty. (Like the “boiled peanuts” that Brother Al would eat every now and then.) It would begin to dominate my thoughts. It’s like a movie in the which a guy and his loyal dog stranded on an island with no food. After several days, the guy looks to his dog and in his mind, he’s not seeing a dog, but a giant t-bone steak. Hunger will make us “crave” that which we’re lacking and if we “hunger” after the ways of the Lord we’ll be diligent in this pursuit. We’ll also be filled!
I John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.”
Far from grievous, they are the ways of life. Real life in Christ, coupled with joy and peace like nothing in this world can even come close to.
Well, I’ll close for the time being. The word of God is beyond incredible and we should never take it lightly. In the west we tend to have a bible in every room along with stacks of teaching series, and, of course, the old reliable “Strongs Exhaustive Concordance.” Because of this plenteous access, we don’t treasure it the way that we should. The day may well come when “what we have hidden in our heart is all that we have.”
Well, I’ll be going for now. Again, these posts wont be back-to-back, although a few may come out that way, as to leave room for other things, like the post that I was going to do this morning which now sits in the drafts needing some links revised. Here’s a link that one might find interesting. www.newswithviews.com/baldwin/baldwin407.htm It’s a message concerning apostasy and I found it informative. Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.