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January 6, 2022 5:00 am
There is a potential downside to becoming very spiritually disciplined Christian.
I mean, it can be hazardous to your health. And that's what we want to cover today. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with shipping trips are vital to this daily discipleship program motivating for students to live like Christian Living on the Edge. Learn more about us go to Living on the Edge.find hundreds of resources range of topics in countless programs for the chip and remap a way to get plugged in with our ministry on this program. Chip continues our series balancing life's demands with a clear warning for those who want to be more disciplined in their Christian life. So let's get started. If you have a Bible turn now to Matthew chapter 5. Let's join chip forest. I want you close your eyes like you to do anything weird what you close your eyes I want you. Try to remember exactly where you were the last time you heard these words, please take out a clean sheet of paper and a number two pencil put everything away. Clear your desk number from 1 to 10 were having a pop quiz.
Okay, now you can open your eyes and we member the feared pop quiz that was a tool of accountability right it was.
Did you read the assignment. Are you on track. Are you doing your work and the way we will enforce that is when you don't suspect it and I used to hate that. Please take everything off your desk. My heart would sink number two pencil while I'm going to give you a pop quiz and this is a for real.
Okay so I mean, don't think like all this is kind of a nice illustration that none in the you'll notice on your notes.
It says to what degree at the biblical priorities pop quiz to what degree have you taken specific steps in the following areas and I told you earlier that I had that moment with prof Hendrix where he went over to the board and any told us member guys.
God loves you right now, as much as you ever love you issue is who do you really want to be and then in big letters. He wrote the word objectives and under the words that are that he wrote priorities and under that, he wrote the word schedule and then he wrote discipline. Many wrote accountability now as we take this pop quiz.
Some of you are very intense you're trying to be very deeply honest, would you be you know. Give yourself a good grade.
Okay, don't be too hard on yourself.
You'll notice there's a little box I actually want you to put a number in the box and and so I'm going to I'm going to give it you know the definition on the quiz and then if you say none. You know, put a one if it were a little put it to. If you started you know in your kinda doing okay or even making some progress but a three if you're making making some good progress and by the way, you know some of you are so hard on yourself. If you like. Like when we get to accountability is all I meet with some people. When I'm doing something. Give yourself a four and then if you feel like I am vigorously pursuing this. I mean, I am intense in this area and I'm really trying to do what God wants me to do. Give yourself a five so have you got it. There's the scoring question number one students number two pencil objectives moving from vague ideas to specific decisions about the kind of person I want to become and what I want to accomplish so what are you are you moving from the kind of vague ideas to some specific decisions that I want to be this kind of person and these are some things I want to accomplish by God's grace in my life. If you never thought about it and really don't care. Give yourself a one if you're vigorously pursuing that and you and you've gone from some general decisions to how you know what, even while I've been here I've got some clarity, then write down 45 in the first number that comes go with it okay for me was not over analyzes I will be collecting the papers. Later, however, is not question number two priorities.
This is about how you spend your time how you spend your money. The order ordering my life in such a way that the important and eternal are not forfeited by the pressing and the urgent. It's that putting first things first. Keeping first things first, where Oriental net none little started doing okay making progress vigorously pursuing put down a number third. Some of you are. I just can't am I really a three years at a fork just third is schedule determining specifically how and when I will place the important and eternal in my daily life at things like where and how I might have put time with God in my daily life where and how the important relationships that I have responsibility I want to develop whether it's my kids or mentoring or roommate you know where and how specifically you can put in your schedule becoming the person the being that you know God wants you to where you next is discipline doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done. Choosing to habitually delay gratification of short-term pleasure in order to more fully enjoy long-term success. How are you doing there final one is accountability enlisting the support of those who love me, to help me keep my commitments to God.
Is there some people that you that you're enlisting or you're already doing that wear you out on that one to three or 45 lighted up, got good now I want you to something might be crazy is put a line under that. I want you to add up those numbers just Adam up real quickly. Okay this you know there's only 12345, it can't be that hard.
Just Adam up some. You thought I was kidding about pop quiz. I was were about the liver halfway through this series together and so I thought we do little evaluation if you added those up and if you were us your total score, it was between a five and a 10 you have heard but not acted at all. If you, your score is between 11 and the 15 you begin to take some initial steps toward what God wants you to be in balance in your life biblical priorities. If your score is between a 15 or 20.
Your life is actually changing may not be as much as you would like your life is changing and if you scored between a 20 and a 25 this message is for you I mean you are vigorously intensely pursuing. I want to be this kind of person.
My priorities my discipline my schedule and accountability if you're between a 20 or 25. I think God will have a special word for all of us, but especially for you if some of you have struggled with, keeping your commitments in the past you know that last teaching we did on accountability I think will really help you.
If however you find yourself being one of those people who say you know something I'm I am really trying to be all God wants me to be and I am pretty intense in pursuing him and yet I have these waves of guilt and I never know whether I'm doing enough and you know as I processed some of this am trying to be real discerning, but I'm just not sure that I think this message will be very helpful reading a look at two warnings from Jesus you notice even the title of this message is personal discipline can be hazardous to your health warning flashing lights personal discipline. Then we talked about how important it is that it's from the spirit of God that we need to be disciplined right now.
It's timeout before you get too focused to fired up personal discipline can be hazardous to your spiritual health. There's two great dangers in becoming a highly focused, highly disciplined authentic follower of Christ danger number one is the danger of distortion. Jesus warns that we can easily distort the purpose of spiritual activities. He was up on the mountain had prayed all night. According to Luke six and he knew that he was going to turn over the ministry to a select group of men, not a group of men that most of us would've chosen most of blue-collar workers exception of maybe 11 was a former revolutionary a couple guys with anger management issues. I want a strong leader with a very big mouth. One betrayer I want to croak and he goes up into the mountain and is very clear. The parallel he's going to even as you know, Moses was the great Old Testament hero and as Moses laid out God's economy for the children of Israel from the mountain now. Jesus, the rabbi, the teacher goes up into the mountain and he prays and we will hear what's commonly called the sermon on the mount. But what is talking to is to his disciples, and the crowd is overhearing as the tax opens up. It says he sits down which was when a rabbi was speaking authoritatively. He would sit down and say this is the way it is. You'll notice that you have in your notes Matthew chapter 5 and then in your note. You also see a structure or overview Matthew chapter 5. The context is verses wanting to know when he saw the crowds, he went up into the mountainside and he sat down, his disciples came to him and began to teach them say obviously in our time together. I can't go through all of this in much detail, but I want you to see the structure verses three through 12.
He's going to say the reward and the character of true followers look like this and then in verses 13 through 16.
He's going to say when that kind of character is lived out, by the grace of God in relationship with him. You are literally the salt in the light of the world he saying be worthy examples and then after that he's going to have to tie it in because I spent all their time is little boys in the synagogue listening to the Pharisees, teach, and Moses is the great teacher and so now he needs to say what am I saying and how does that tie in to what you've always heard and what they've always heard is not all, of the Old Testament teaching, but there's the mission I met was a oral tradition that you know I think someone is said is about 614 or 13 commands in the Old Testament clear commands will add two or three more thousand that came out of this oral teaching mean they had commands about how many steps you can take on the Sabbath about this about me every detail of life of a Pharisee would pass twice a week. They were tied on their money.
And Jesus would even say later you're down to the kind of herbs and spices. They were legalistic down to the minute you and so Jesus is connected. I mean he is declaring himself and his message in his followers and then is going to say where do I and my teaching fit with what you've heard all your life with Moses and his can make a very radical statement in verse 20 and can talk about your righteousness.
So have you got the structure so with that. Just listen. But let's listen first to the reward and character of his followers.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God blessed our the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In fact, Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you falsely, and say all kind of evil things against you because of me.
You see the role he's taking. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. And so he gives a character quality.
The poor in spirit, someone who sees their need before God and then he gives the reward the character quality reward the character quality reward. He says this is an authentic follower of mine and then he goes from that to impact.
What's the role. How do you live you are.
He doesn't say become. He doesn't say do you are the salt of the earth.
But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can be made salty again, is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled by men you are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house in the same way, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and praise your Father who is in heaven and in their minds when he said good works. The good works that would immediately come to their mine would be the good works of the Pharisees. I mean all the good works all the duties all the rules all the stuff as he begins to build the structure first of the reward and character then be worthy of examples and now working to get to the part where you can really get in trouble if you're the Messiah. He says do not think because are you are you the one shall we expect another reason John the Baptist was asking teacher like no one else. She speaks with authority, the lame walk, the blind see, the dead are raised, defeats 5000. So where do you fit in the economy of God and he's gonna just lay it out. Do not think that I've come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I'd not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter to lower the least stroke of the pen will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands did you notice the emphasis practices and teaches what's his problem with the Pharisees, what's his problem with the religious culture, its duplicity if the problem we have today. Everyone says I'm born again everyone says I love Jesus, we just don't live that way anyone who practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of God.
For I tell you and this is the one where I mean, their jaws dropped by tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
Now can you imagine here in the sermon and to get to that parking on are you kidding I mean, these guys are squeaky clean, squeaky clean, squeaky clean. I mean, they have these things on their head in the goes down the robes in the hundreds or thousands of verses that they've memorized. They pray at certain times. They give their money.
They fast twice a week. I mean if righteousness is doing the right things. I mean these guys, and now this new Messiah tells me unless my righteousness exceeds theirs.
I can't even get in right about now.
I'm thinking there's no hope for me. And then Jesus begins to make the distinction between external righteousness activities spiritual activities good activities doing the right things. However, for the wrong reason.
But it's a very silly illustration, but it helps me. Can you imagine if someone maybe it took many many years and by just great fortune they were able to build. I mean the house of their dreams and after the house was done.
You know they they needed was a little broken, so the need to build a small little bridge and and then a driveway to get into it and and and then they invite you over and the last thing they worked on was the driveway and there's no different kinds of stone and into the little white fence and landscaping and state they bring you over and I said look at this. Can you believe this driveway look at the strive what you were without the stones look at this driveway look at this driveway and for like two hours they describe the driveway.
The driveway, the driveway, the driveway and then afterwards I say well it's been really great to have you here. I'll see you later. What's the purpose of the driveway to get to the house.
It's only a means what Jesus was saying and what is going to teaches the practices of good works, and religious activities are merely the driveway.
True righteousness is always a matter of the heart. True righteousness is always an issue of relationship, not performance what he was saying to them as your righteousness needs to exceed that of the Pharisees because they got all the external religious activity, but their hearts member wouldn't say your lips profess this, but your hearts are far from me.
They weren't poor in spirit. They didn't see their need, they weren't merciful. They were pure in heart. They were seeing God they were being persecuted they were persecuting all the things about the character. Do you notice that every single thing of those beatitudes they would be not do attitudes. There were issues of who you are inside who you are that only God can see who you are when no one's looking what your motives, what matters Jesus says.
Genuine righteousness is always a matter of the heart. And then we get to pick it up. A notice in your notice is true righteousness and that is going to take their oral commands and is connect. This phrase is going to be repeated and is going to apply it in under intros can apply to murder and adultery, divorce in Osan retribution and enemies, but is gonna say you have heard it said, and was gonna say is, here's the external righteousness that you've been taught since you were little boys little girls but I say to you behind that external thing. This is the spirit. This is God's heart.
This is what he was always after the Pharisees. Each one is going to you've heard it said the focus is external. Jesus will cite none of the focus should be internal. The Pharisees, it was always about doing Jesus is a no no no no. It's really about being the Pharisees were pounding people and making people greater centers themselves. It was about duty duty duty Jesus said they missed it. It's about devotion, the Pharisees would say it's performance are you doing this are you doing that you doing this Jesus said performance. No one can be justified by the law. It's about your relationship on the Pharisees side. They manipulated and controlled people with guilt.
Jesus said I want you to introduce you to Grace. They were focused on the letter of the law. Jesus said, no, it's not the letter. It's the spirit of the law. The letter kills the spirit gives life. Finally, Jesus said they got it all in their head. I want you to know that I'm looking for the pure in heart, and so he applies so you know we can't go into it in great detail, but let me give you taste okay let's just let's go through how he applied it so he starts with with murder. Now remember the context is your righteousness if you were listening to the sermon by Jesus. It needs to be exceeding that of the most religious squeaky clean got it together. Disciplined folks you could ever imagine. And so he starts. He said you've heard it said to the people long ago do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again I say if anyone says to his brother Rocca's aunt's role to the Sanhedrin, but anyone says to his brother, you fool, is in danger of the fire of hell.
Therefore I say to you if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember your brother has something against you, leave your gift there at the altar, and go be reconciled. Your brother, then come and present your offering many goes on to talk about settling matters.
The command was about don't commit murder. What's behind murder murder murder is the last thing you do when you have relational conflict. It's unresolved and where does it start.
It starts with anger is when I'm angry.
I think people don't like have casually wonderful feelings and say okay today.
I mean, it starts with a resentment and there's anger or hurt or injustice and anger build and it ends up in the action of murder and so Jesus is what's behind that is some relational issues, and he's talking about the value of human relationships, and so he he takes it from murder to saying we don't have time to explain what he meant there but you fool very strong word and that culture and then he goes when a second back if you don't have something right with the brother. I don't don't come here and give your offering with God this stuff that you observe most your life with.
There's hatred in the breakdown of relationships and yet people do their perfunctory religion says that's you've missed the heart of God make things right with God and did you notice he didn't say if you blew it.
If you are aware that there's a problem with your brother, maybe his problem and maybe your problem may be 50-50 might be 9010 might be 99%, then 1% you he says if you come before the altar and there remember your brother has something against you. What's his point relational reconciliation and human relationships are the heart of that command will keep applies it to the next area and he's going instead of talking about murder is going to talk about the sanctity of sex he says you've heard it said do not commit adultery but I say to you, anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her and us in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouged out is better for you to have lose one eye than to from your body than for your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off. Hyperbole here is is making up a metaphor to say the gravity of what you need to do what's his point of the got to the point were heading up did you commit adultery or not is it legal to what Moses gave a certificate of divorce and at this point there were two schools of thought. But basically the average guy could so you know what she did look very pretty anymore. I don't want her anymore. A woman had zero rights you're out to get a new one. Jesus, when second. This is not just external behavior.
I'm telling you that when your loyalty moves from the fidelity of the covenant marriage to even mentally going to another person before God you've already missed. In fact, if you have a problem be as drastic as you need to be. I mean if you got your right eye out men, it was good just left us with one. I could write talk of VLSI luster, or if I cut off one hand, I usually saying the he saying in figure speech be as drastic as you need to be to deal with the issue of the sanctity of sexuality he goes to the next area which is having to do with divorce. He says it's it's been said among you that if anyone divorces his wife, you must give first certificate of divorce, but I tell you, if anyone divorces his wife except for marital infidelity just created new word I think causes her to become an adulterous and again it's the sanctity of the family. It's not just the legality it's the covenant it's what you committed to.
It's the relationship he skips down to Oce again I say, you've heard it said from people long ago. Do not break your oath, but keep the oath that you made to the Lord but I say to you, don't swear at all, either by heaven, for that is God's throne or the earth for its his footstool or by Jerusalem, for it's a city of the great God I don't swear by your head, for you can't make even one hair white or black.
Simply let your yes be yes and your no be no. Anything beyond that comes from you from the evil one, and this was a time when they would do business deal that would have a lot of written contracts.
I swear by this and I swear by that and I swear by this I swear by that had this whole system of swears and Jesus said you know what, here's the deal like this. Try integrity. If you say yes, I'll do it.
You do it to say no just mean it. Stop playing these games and negotiating and trying to attempt to work around, religious loopholes be men and women of integrity from the heart and he gets to retribution and you know that classic eye for an eye, tooth for tooth, but I say to you, do not resist evil person resistive someone strikes you, and by the way, the striking here on the right cheek. Most people are are are right-handed. This this is more about the offense.
It's the slapping, and then he says if someone asked you to go 1 mile. The Roman soldiers by law could come to anyone and say you carried this for my you carry my equipment for mile and basically what he says is you know you know your pride in your rights and when you get offended what I did that to me. I'm going to do that to him. He said you know something I will list.
Let's there's some law grace. How about we show the world how different and wonderful God is.
Let's give people what they don't deserve the Roman soldier says okay I command you know the name of the Emperor in Rome or dammit you must carry my equipment by law for 1 mile and then have markers. There's a mile and you look up and say hey you mind if I go one more and that soldier goes what says that the kingdom citizen see the heart see the difference.
Then finally he said you've heard it said love your neighbor and hate your enemies, but I tell you, love your enemies, and then listen to this.
Pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your father in heaven. And the idea of sons, especially in Hebrew culture. It has family likenesses. The idea you'll be like your father in heaven.
He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good he sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you. You know what reward is that I mean don't tax collectors and sinners do that and so he he makes this point.
He says I want you to demonstrate to the Romans, mercy and grace in the now. He says what you did your enemies, you don't get what they deserve. Grace is giving people something they don't deserve mercy is withholding what people do deserve and so when your enemies do he says I want you to withhold what you would more normally give them and want you to overcome evil with good. You'll never be more like your heavenly father. Then when you love and hurt and abused train you know shot the people he was talking to when he told them what it looks like to be at that follower of Christ when he framed the world from you've heard it said, and all those external righteousness and discipline in performance and religiosity throughout the window's surgeon's skill went to the very heart of the matter. It's about something inside that God is looking for and as he walked through these various issues of murder and adultery and divorce in Osan retribution. And then he gets to this one about enemies. And I gotta tell you, I can only imagine sitting in the crowd, someone shaking their heads saying you don't understand. You certainly don't mean to forgive that person and release that person is hurt me.
I mean, they're my enemy. I mean think what they've done to me in the past, and yet they hear his voice and he says to them, just like he saying to us, if you're thinking that X made.
If you're thinking that ex-boss if you thinking that the child who's betrayed you, or the parent that abused you or the person that ripped you off financially.
Who said they were Christian.
What he saying is you need to be set free. I want you to forgive your enemies I want you to release them. I want you to learn in my power to love them, and you may just say God I just can't or I don't know how what I want you to know first is you need to make the decision. Lord, I'm willing I want to do what you want me to to but I don't know how. And second, I would say that as you pray, that earnestly and sincerely. There's a place that we can take you to get some help.
I did an entire message that will teach you very specifically how to overcome the evil that saying that you is the apostle Paul taking this very cortex and explains in detail what to do and how to do it and I want you to know that as you take by faith, the steps that God will show you you will be free because good is more powerful than evil thanks to the message you just mentioned is called overcoming the evil aimed at you and it's from our popular series true spirituality becoming a Romans 12 Christian download the series now firstname.lastname@example.org or on the trip and remap going to the special offer section. Go check it out now and experience that freedom chip was talking about your great way to get plugged in with our resources you're Living on the Edge is through the chipping remap. There you can listen to past series sign up for daily discipleship and much more. Let us help you experience God in a new personal way. Starting today with the chipping remap well from all of us here. This is the same. Thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge