Sermons

Summary: Today's message is about our getting our world aligned with God.

Getting Spiritually Aligned

“Aligning Our World”

Matthew 23:25-26

{Audio File: https://mega.nz/#!7AVjDChB!NnBfY-_t5BH_nMlO6KZXZ-vh5L6p8o9kVit6gAdVSHY}

A very influential leader would often use Christian vernacular in his public speeches. He talked about how the blessing of the Almighty and the Christian confessions would become the pillars of his new government, and would show off his tattered Bible and declared how he drew strength from it. And the people welcomed him as a man sent by God

The man was Adolf Hitler. He mastered outward religiosity, but without its inward reality.

We see this same hypocrisy in our local supermarkets as we go shopping for deals. But we may actually be getting less than what we thought. According to the U.S. News & World Report, some manufacturers are selling us the same size packages, but putting less of the product inside. In the report they noted one detergent that once held 61 ounces now only contains 55 ounces, but it is still sold at the same price and in the same size box.

What we could say is that the outside doesn’t always portray what’s on the inside, and this goes for us as well. That is why God is interested in what’s inside more than He is interested in what’s portrayed on the outside.

Take for instance the Old Testament Tabernacle, the place where God’s people worshipped the Lord. The outer appearance was not all that eye appealing. It wouldn’t have shown up on the cover of Better Homes and Garden. It was made of goat and badger skins. Now, for durability and protection these couldn’t be beat, but they’re not that pretty to look at. And so, by the way it looked, we wouldn’t think much of it.

But the inside it was a different story. There were intricately woven tapestries, along with beautifully made articles of gold, silver, and bronze.

The wilderness Tabernacle is in many ways symbolic of the spiritual tabernacle that God sets up in the lives of those who believe in Jesus Christ, as the Apostle Paul points out that as believers our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). And the beautiful tapestries and furnishings reveal how the Holy Spirit weaves the qualities of Jesus Christ into our lives as He brings us into alignment with God.

What all this speaks to is that God’s kingdom is not only inside out, but when we compare it to the world’s way of thinking, it is also upside down as well.

First, in order to live, we must die. Jesus said that He is the resurrection and the life, and that whoever believes in Him, even though they may be dead, they will still be alive, and those who are alive and believe will never die (John 11:25-26). Later, Jesus taught that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it will not produce life (John 12:24).

Another upside down kingdom principle is that to be the boss, we must become servants. To be the chief, we must serve. And to illustrate this point, Jesus took up a towel at the Passover Meal and washed the disciple’s feet, taking on the form of the lowest servant in the household (John 13:1-17).

There’s also the idea that if we want to be exalted and lifted up, we must humble ourselves. Jesus said that whoever exalts themselves will be humbled, but whoever humbles themselves will be exalted (Matthew 23:12). The Apostle James tells us to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, and then He, the Lord, will lift us up (James 4:10). And the Apostle Peter says that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5).

And then, if we want to be whole, we must be broken. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will inherit the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3), where there is no more sorrow, suffering, pain, or tears (Revelation 21:4).

And so it’s not what we make ourselves out to be, but it’s what we are on the inside that determines who we really are.

Let’s take a look at what Jesus said about this when he confronted the Pharisees.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.” (Matthew 23:25-26 NKJV)

Within the context of the whole chapter, Jesus comes against the religionist of His day, the Pharisees. Now, while Jesus encourages us to obey what they taught, because they taught the Law of Moses, He also told us not to follow their practices, because while they talk a good game, they didn’t practice what they preached. In other words, they placed commandments on the people that they didn’t follow.

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