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138 - Season and Shine!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin
The Truth Network Radio
March 18, 2023 1:00 pm

138 - Season and Shine!

More Than Ink / Pastor Jim Catlin & Dorothy Catlin

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March 18, 2023 1:00 pm

Episode 138 - Season and Shine! (18 Mar 2023) by A Production of Main Street Church of Brigham City


You pick up your Bible and wonder, is there more here than meets the eye?

Is there anything here for me? I mean, it's just words printed on paper, right? Well, it may look like just print on a page, but it's more than ink. Join us for the next half hour as we explore God's Word together, as we learn how to explore it on our own, as we ask God to meet us there in its pages.

Welcome to More Than Ink. Okay, if you asked anyone in our generation who the most godly, the most righteous man is, who would they say? Oh, maybe Billy Graham?

Yeah, Billy Graham. And then if I told you that your godliness had to be greater than his, what would you say? That's impossible.

Yeah, sounds impossible. Well, we're going to come up against that today on the Sermon on the Mount on More Than Ink. Well, good morning to you. This is Jim.

And I'm Dorothy. And we're glad you joined More Than Ink. And we broadcast this under the proposal that anyone can read the Bible, right? It's not just for experts. And actually it's what we love to do. I love very few things more than sitting down at a table and opening the Word of God and just talking our way through it. People who are just curious or even people who have studied and wanted to learn more.

Yep. And God respects that kind of curiosity and resolve to say, I want to read God's Word, I want to know what it says. And He has made His Word very accessible. And He invites us.

He's constantly inviting us. Right, right. So if you're tuning in thinking you're going to listen to experts, you're not going to find experts. Experts are great.

And we both like experts who have more study in the Word. But this stuff is right on the surface. And so when we come to the Sermon on the Mount, which is where we are right now, it's very much on the surface.

This is Jesus standing up for the first time we have recorded in the Gospel of Matthew where He says, okay, let's do some teaching. So we started it last week. We got through the Beatitudes and fascinating jewels of meditation.

I mean, you could stay all day just kind of scratching your head on that. And now we've pushed on past that and we're in Chapter 5 and we're studying Verse 13. And He's going to make a general comment to start off with before He gives us too much doctrine about what our beliefs have to do with our life and what the impact might be in our lives because of that. Well, and remember who He is speaking to. His audience is 99 percent Jewish. There probably were a few Gentiles among them at this point. So when He says you, you, you, He's talking to the Jews.

Yeah, right. And He's talking to peasants up in the country in Galilee. So this opening statement is really quite astonishing. Well, and He's talking to the people who regarded themselves as God's chosen people, the people of the promise, right?

They were living in the land God had promised them. So, you know, when He starts into this, He's hearkening back to some things God had said to them back in the Old Testament. So let's, let's read it. Let's read it. Well, take it for us. We're in Verse 13 of Chapter 5. Okay. You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?

It's no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who's in heaven.

Fascinating. Well, yeah, this is why it's really important for us to remember that He's talking to Jews. He's talking to Jews, yeah. Because God's purpose for establishing a people who would be the, the holders of His promise and a demonstration of His faithfulness to the world, that's very important at this point when He's talking about salt and light. Because what does salt do? It makes you thirsty. Right, right.

It makes things taste good. Right, right. Right. What does light do? It shines a light in the dark unless you see what's really there.

Yeah. So these two things, in fact, salt and light, are the opposite of rot and darkness. So if you look at it like that, because salt is a preservative, it not only preserves food, it's also very precious.

They used to use it as currency for Roman soldiers. I mean, there's a lot of things about it. These are both two magnificently good things when you think about the fact that the world is a place of rot and decay. And very necessary things.

And very necessary things. But it opens the question, what was God's purpose for His people? Why does Jesus say these things?

Because we immediately jump to what He might be saying to us. But we need to understand what God wanted His people to be. He told them in Exodus, I'm going to make you a nation of priests, people who represent me to the world and represent the world to me. But the one I want to zero in on is in Jeremiah 13, when he says, as a waistband clings to the waist of a man. So I made the whole household of Israel, I made them in order to cling to me, declares the Lord, that they might be for me, a people for renown, for praise and for glory, but they would not listen.

They wouldn't listen. So God's purpose for this designated people was to make Himself known through them, make the glory of His name evident to the world. So that's when Jesus says, you are the light of the world. He says, don't you understand that was God's purpose for you. Yeah, so it occurs to me as we look at these two things, salt and light, which are both incredibly good things and communicative about who God is, is that there's this, there's powerful purpose, not only in why the Israelites are here, but why we are here as believers, that we are, which is why He says, you know, you're salt, but hey, if you're not salty anymore, you've missed the purpose.

Or if you're a light, you don't put your light under a bushel. Does that make a lot of sense? So there's a great purpose in these two statements about communicating the character nature of God through us.

Okay. And what, what the good works, the question of the good works is a really important one, right? Because the Jewish people regarded those good works as they had the words of God, they had the law, and boy, they better just do it.

Do it, do it, do it. For their own benefit, not for others. Right.

To gain. But if you remember in John six, when they came to Him and said, well, what should we do to be doing the works of God? His answer was that you believe in the one who means it. That's the work of God. That's the work of God.

So if we factor that back in here, right? People who live by their faith in the one who called them. That's the essential idea here. That'll say something powerful to the world. Because, you know, at the end of this, He says not to give glory to yourself, but to give glory to your Father. Right. And, and I always look at that and think, people should look at your life and, and beg the question, what kind of Father do they have if they act like this?

If this, if they are like their Father, we need to ask questions about their Father. So it's, it's really meant to be lives lived, provoking curiosity and understanding about who God is. That's right.

That's a great purpose here. And I might not, since you mentioned Matthew 6, the beginning of Matthew 6 has a fascinating phrase. It looks like it's in conflict with let your light shine. Oh, right. Exactly. Because it says, beware of practicing your righteousness before men.

So as a, as a study challenge to you, listener, go check that out. Go look at the first verse of chapter 6 of Matthew and ask yourself, how is that different from what's here? But, but here it's very evident that this, you, your life needs to be seen. That's the light. For the glory of God. For the glory of God.

And that's, that's important. It also kind of puts on us this, this idea that I talked about purpose, but that God has made us to be deliberately distinctive in a world that's fallen. And so if you hide that distinctiveness, what's the point? What's the point? So, so he wants our distinctiveness to be out there.

There's no such thing as secret Christians or living underground or all that kind of thing. He wants us to be living as outward on the surface, seeable distinctives to a world that's dying and decaying. That's what you're saying. So, you know, that opens the question, why did he even give the law? Why did he give his specific commands to these people?

So we'll circle around to that. Because when he presses on into the next section that starts talking about the law and the prophets, then suddenly everybody's listening. Their ears are pricked because he's speaking with such authority.

Yeah, yeah. Well, remember he, he opened his ministry by saying, repent. The kingdom of God is right here at hand. And now he's speaking like the king. I say to you, the law said that, but I say to you, yeah, we're getting that. So he's opened this whole thing. The law, if you think of the law as just a statement of conduct, of behavior, of acting differently than other people. So when he starts into talking about that in verse 17, he's going to say, well, let me just lay one more groundwork before we clarify the law.

And this is another piece of groundwork. So why don't you read from us from 17. Okay. Do not think that I've come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Okay.

Yikes. So they're probably anticipating at this point that Jesus is going to change everything about the law. But he's not. But he doesn't. He doesn't.

In fact, he says, I'm not going to abolish it. I've come to fulfill it. And you know, when you answer the question, what does fulfill mean that he fulfilled it, you can answer it a lot of ways.

And all of those ways are kind of right. I mean, he said the law and the prophets. He satisfied prophecies about the Messiah. He satisfied lived out morality among men. Complete obedience.

Complete obedience. He also even fulfilled the penalty for sin on our behalf. So there's a lot of ways in which he's fulfilled it. But he is not going to now turn the page and say, now let's start over.

I've got a new law for you. He's actually underwriting the law as it is. But he's going to start there and go deeper.

That's what you're going to see in a second here. Yeah, he's going to open it up to reveal that the law never was about external behavior. Right. It was always about the heart, the internal heart conditioned toward God. And if you don't hear anything else today, that's probably the most important statement is behavior versus heart.

Right. And so that's a gigantic deal because you can in your behavior do everything right, but your heart will still be twisted and wicked. See, that's why he says your righteousness has to exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees and the scribes because they externally kept every commandment and then some.

Yeah, they were good at it. I mean, even Paul, who was a Pharisee, says, you know, as far as the law is concerned, I was totally righteous. I did everything the law demanded. But remember when Jesus opened his ministry, he said, now repent. The kingdom of God is at hand. Turn another way and believe the king is here. So there are deeper issues in conduct, deeper than just our behavior. So that's what he's going to get at right now. And I chuckle when I read this last sentence in verse 20, because righteousness is to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. And I'm thinking, if I was standing in the audience right there, I'm thinking, oh, wait a second.

How can that possibly be? The Pharisees have a great edge on me. I mean, they're educated, so they know the law and its detail.

Right. I mean, not only do they know it, but then they practice it. And later on, Jesus will even say, you know, you tithe mint, dill and cumin. I mean, you go right down to the bottom line.

They're really good at it. So as a listener, I'd be sitting on the hillside saying, well, let's give up because I can't compete with them. And Jesus says it needs to exceed. And then I also, I also imagine some Pharisees listening to this because in a way, Jesus not only honors their keeping of the law, but then he also repudiates it because he says, you got to go beyond you guys, beyond what you're doing right now. So he's setting it up in this last sentence in verse 20 to say, have I got your attention? Now let's talk about the law for a second and talk about how you need to exceed what you thought the law was.

So just if you're listening readers, so I'm studying Romans right now at the same time. And it's very important when we come to talk about the law that we understand that the reason God gave the law was not so that we could obey it and be good. It was so that we could understand we can't keep it. That it reveals and codifies sin. It makes known God's expectation of righteousness and the impossibility of our keeping it. And Galatians says the law became our tutor to lead us to Christ.

So I think let's kind of keep our eyes open for that as we move forward into these next subjects. He's going to start knocking off different aspects of the law. In what way do we have to exceed what the Pharisees are doing when it comes to the law? So let me just pick it up here, verse 21. So you've heard that it was said to those of old, you shall not murder and whoever murders will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, here's that authority thing coming. I say to you that everyone who's angry with his brother will be liable to judgment. And whoever insults his brother will be liable to the counsel.

And whoever says you fool or rocker in Aramaic will be liable to the hell of fire. So let's just stop right there. So he's saying murder, you know we don't disagree on murder. Murder is still murder and murder is still bad.

But you got to go, that's just the behavior. I mean where's your heart at? If you've thought evil you've murdered him in your heart. Right. And so he's not putting away the law of murder. What he's doing is he's saying murder as a process in you has a beginning and an end. The end is carrying it out. The beginning is where it starts in your heart and we need to cover that as well. And when he said that's the exceeding part. If you just don't pick up a knife and stab somebody it doesn't necessarily mean that your heart is pure. That's right.

And then it goes on in the same kind of context. So he says so if you're offering your gift at the altar and there you remember that your brother has something against you, like something you've done wrong, well leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift. And come to terms quickly with your accuser while you're going with him to court lest your accuser hand you over to the judge and the judge to the guard and you be put in prison.

So truly I say to you, you'll never get out until you've paid the last penny. So reconciliation is a big deal. Reconciliation has nothing to do with murder.

It has to do with this hate in your heart. Well it has to do with the beginning of murder. The beginning of murder.

That's why I like that idea. We're talking about the beginning and the end of murder. And the beginning is a process we just don't think about as being important.

But he's saying no, right here it's super important. Yeah because if you're nurturing unforgiveness, unreconciliation, bitterness, anger in your heart that will eventually flower into some outward expression of murder. Yeah and so you can stand up before God and say well you know I never picked up a knife and killed anybody so I must be doing pretty good. But are you guilty of character assassination?

But right. Have you wished in your heart that that person didn't exist in the universe? If that's ever been the case, well then you're guilty of murder. Okay so that was a huge turning point in my own life when the Lord on one very sleepless night turned that around and applied it to me and said well you know this person that you wish wasn't there, you wish he was dead.

You are a murderer. Yeah. And this passage struck me with a force I had never experienced before. Yeah, yeah.

It's a big deal. And so again the emphasis here is not just on behavior but the beginning of a twisted behavior which starts in your heart. And Jesus said that at one point.

They asked him about eating bad food, you know unclean food. And he says it's not what goes in you that defiles you, it's what comes out of you. It's what's already in you. Because it comes out of your heart.

It comes out of your heart. So that's the issue when he's saying exceeding the righteousness of the Pharisees we're pushing into the heartland and not just into behavior land. So you know it's interesting that this idea of a circumcised heart was actually present way back in Deuteronomy. Way back in the Psalms. The idea of not just our fleshy obedience but our heart being tender and exposed toward God and responsive.

It goes clear back to listeners you can look it up. Look up Deuteronomy 10, 12 and 16. Deuteronomy 30 verse 6. And Paul says the same thing in Romans 2. It's not ones who are outwardly who are Jews. It's those with the circumcised heart inwardly. Yeah.

And you know I think about this a lot these days with social media. There's just a lot of public contempt being verbalized. And that kind of contempt is, it's just nasty kind of stuff.

That's actually at the end of verse 22, you fool. That Rocca word. That's that contempt. I mean that is just pure unbridled contempt. That spoken contempt. Right. And you say you are a worthless person.

You don't even deserve to exist. I mean just outright contempt. And does that not characterize the tone of the conversation on so much social media?

It does. And that's what Jesus is saying. Look you are actively engaged in verbal murder.

And it's not a small thing. Your hearts are living in contempt. Now we shouldn't be surprised when the world does that.

But Jesus says now you are the people identified as the people of God. You. You. Yeah.

And so if you're doing your righteous, you know, religious stuff taking your gift to the altar, you need to go back and fix these relationships first. Because that's an outward act of hypocrisy. It is. It is.

It totally is. God forgive me what I've done but you haven't gone to the person and asked for that forgiveness? Or here's my beautiful gift. God now receive it. Or you think that it sort of eradicates this outward anger and rock us.

So that takes me back to Psalm, I think it's 15, clean hands and a pure heart. Yeah. Oh my goodness. So he starts with anger which touches everybody. Right. Right. Everybody deals with anger. But then he doesn't linger there.

He presses on into lust and then his outward expression, a divorce. Right. Right.

So let's read on. Okay, verse 27. You've heard that it was said you shall not commit adultery.

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it's better for you to lose one of your members than your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it's better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Okay, I want to press on here because these are connected. Yeah, okay. It was also said, whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife except on the ground of sexual immorality makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. So now we have lust followed by divorce and they're related. Well, they are in this particular context because Jesus goes on to talk about, he's talking about sexual immorality as a cause for divorce. Yeah. So back up to lust.

Yeah, because he starts out, you shall not commit adultery. No one's disagreeing on that. Right.

You shouldn't do that. But what we talked about the beginning and end of sin. Right. That's just the end of sin. The beginning of it is lust. Right.

It's a heart issue. Yeah. And if you entertain those lustful thoughts in your heart, either man or a woman, you are already guilty of having broken the marriage covenant. Right. So he's talking to married people here because adultery applies to married people. Yeah. So if you're even wishing for it, you know, when you cross the line into making someone else an object of your gratification, you've gone into a different place. And he's talking about a habitual behavior here because this this right eye causing you to sin or your right hand causing you to sin those those verbs are in a in an active present tense, right causing you are or continual, right, right hand ongoing looking and ongoing habitual casting your eye elsewhere lustfully.

Yeah. And it makes me think of Job because Job says that, you know, I made a covenant with my eyes, right? Not to look on a virgin. So there's so he comes here with eyes. That's that's the beginning of the process.

The eyes see and then the heart covets and then turns the person you're looking at into a selfish thing of gratification. Yeah. And I mean, it's just it's just really nasty. So again, the beginning of the sin and the end of the sin are both in one package as being repugnant to God. And so he uses this he uses this in 29 through 30 this big talking about look, wouldn't it make sense for you if one part of you is going to kill you?

Wouldn't you kind of excise that now? So so he says that he said, this is not really literal, right? But but he's saying, you know, you need to deal with this one at a time. This is not a trivial issue, especially when you come down to lust, you know, and he strongly implies it to something you can do something about, right? Just like Job made a covenant with his eyes. So so don't don't let that run undercover.

That's a huge deal. Because this sin is sin is corrosive. Yeah, right. It might not seem that way at first, but the more and the deeper you engage in this entertaining of the roving eye, it is corrosive to the relationships that you are in. Because suddenly all you're interested is in the what appeals to your eye and then appeals to your hand, you want to follow up on it. And then the one that you are committed to in this covenant relationship of marriage can't keep up, can't meet that standard.

And so you're like, I'm going to just abandon them and get somebody fresh. And worse off, you turn the relationship into a thing that serves you from a selfish perspective. And that relationships are never meant to be that one way.

And and so many times, it leads to divorce, as the roving eye goes on to something else. And so he says, you know, whoever divorces wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce. Well, that's actually in Deuteronomy 24.

Well, it is. Jesus and said, you know, why did Moses command us to get a divorce? And he's in this is in Mark 10. God never commanded that. But he allowed you to divorce your wives for the purpose of because of your hardness of heart. Yeah, yeah, they had taken they taken Moses's allowance in 24, which was protective.

It was protective, right? You got to go take a look at it. Read Deuteronomy 24. You'll see what's going on there.

But they turned it into a permission of license, right? And that's where it really goes. That's where it really goes bad. In fact, later on, in Matthew, I think it's in the teens, chapter 18, 19, 20, somewhere around there, a Pharisee will actually come to him and say, can we divorce our wife for any reason? And so it hits at the hardest and he'll expand that you can read ahead if you want.

I think it's this is where your concordance comes in handy. Look up the word Matthew 19. It's Matthew 19. And sift out the words of Jesus regarding divorce, because you'll find some very interesting things there.

Yeah. But the bottom line is that man is extraordinarily selfish because of sin. And when it comes to divorce, you know, even the rabbis had debated, because in Deuteronomy 24, it says for any reason, any indecency, which included, they said, burning breakfast. Well, that's how they interpreted it.

Right. But when you look at Deuteronomy 24, the decency is actually this word for naked and ashamed. It strongly implies sexual stuff, but it means you've done something so incredibly shameful.

It's not just burning breakfast. And it doesn't say that you had to divorce. No, it says is you may know, but you must give this certificate. So there's a written documentation that says she did or didn't.

That's the protection, right? Rather than just waving your hand saying, that's it. We're done.

You're out of here. Because if a man were just to cast off his wife and not give her any written statement, then she would be regarded by everyone as an adulterous and sinful and nobody would want to have anything to do with her. So that certificate of divorce was protective for her. Yeah.

Because it had to state the reason why he put her away. And yet here it says, if this is done wrongly, he's saying right here, you're actually forcing your wife as she remarries into bigamy because God does not recognize this divorce. So yeah, that's a really big deal. Well, we're kind of short on our time here.

Yeah. And so Jesus has started in explaining why he says our righteous needs to exceed. It doesn't mean to do away with our behavior. The behavior codes are important, but what we need to do is push back from behavior into the source of that behavior, which is a wicked heart.

And you need to deal with your wicked hearts. Which brings us again to another kind of position with the crowd saying, well, I can't compete with the Pharisees, but who can control the nature of their hearts? Right. So now we're into a territory that everyone agrees, I don't know where that stuff comes from, but I can't control that.

I can control my behavior, but I can't control my heart. And that's how the law works as our tutor to lead us to Christ. Right.

It should bring us to despair. Who can transform our hearts by faith in his righteousness on our behalf. So, you know, we'll unpack that a little bit more in the next week or so, because we're heading for that statement where Jesus says, so you must be perfect as your heavenly father. Yeah, that's right. Oh no.

That's next week. Hang on. Read ahead. But it does bring in great clarity this topic we talked about before in Jeremiah 31 about God writing his law on our hearts, not just externally, but on our hearts. So God's in the business of changing our hearts when it comes to reflecting God's nature and his character and his love in who we are. And the only way he can do that is by implanting his indwelling Holy Spirit, who transforms us from the inside out. So we've just encompassed a ton of theology right there.

But God's intention for his people, if they are going to reflect in a distinctive way in this fallen culture, God's going to do this by changing our hearts, not just by changing our behaviors. Well, we're glad you're with us and we hope you join us. We're going to continue on this, how we exceed the righteousness of the Pharisees. And as we continue on in chapter five, so come back and join us next time on More Than Ink. There are many more episodes of this broadcast to be found at our website, And while you are there, take a moment to drop us a note. Remember, the Bible is God's love letter to you. Pick it up and read it for yourself, and you will discover that the words printed there are indeed more than ink. Hey, what if I, okay, no, I got a better idea. This has been a production of Main Street Church of Rhythm City.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 14:09:34 / 2023-03-18 14:21:48 / 12

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