Summary: A life in which we can 1. Have a high regard for Others 2. Possess a Respect for the Sanctity of Life and 3. Meet our Differences through the Practice of Agape Love
Title: Mountain Living or Here Comes the Kingdom!
A life in which we can 1. Have a high regard for Others 2. Possess a Respect for the Sanctity of Life and 3. Meet our Differences through the Practice of Agape Love
Grace and peace from God our Father and from His Son Jesus Christ who came to take away the sin of the world!
According to USA Today, the city of Naperville, Illinois is one of the greatest places to call home in the United States of America. Now, why would they say that? Well, their reasons are quite simple:
a. One of the wealthiest cities in the United States with an Median Family Income of a little over 127, 500.00.
b. 98% of its citizens 25 years and old have a high school diploma
c. It has one of the lowest crime and poverty rates in the United States
d. It is the home of North Central College along with being a satellite location for seven more colleges
e. Over 63% of its citizens have at least a bachelor's degree
f. Naperville's library has consistently been one of top public libraries in the United States for over 20 years
So, let's all go home and pack and move to Naperville, Illinois or let us this morning look at Matthew 5:21-48 where Jesus tells us that wherever we can live can be a place even better than Naperville, Illinois.
History tells us that back in 1620 there was a collection of 102 passengers that set sail from Plymouth Rock, England who believed that with God's help they could build a society much like the one we read about in the book of Genesis. They believed that God would help them create a Garden of Eden like society. A society based on the Lord, His Word and the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. They not only believed that it was possible they believed they had been given a mandate to make it possible.
I believe this morning that they must have read and had passages like Matthew 5:21-48 memorized. For as we read this passage and see it in Jesus' overall plan for the Kingdom of Heaven we come to realize that Jesus was teaching and directing his disciples and others to create a place where the life of higher righteousness could be realized. Jesus was telling his disciples that such a world could exist through Him.
As you read Jesus' words here at first you may be tempted to think that such a society in which Jesus is describing is an impossibility. You may even believe that it is impossible to even conceive of such a world and certainly it is impossible for such a society to exist here on our earth. However, the more you allow Jesus' words and His Spirit to sink in and renew your heart, your mind and your soul then you come to the conclusion that it is such a society that Jesus died for and sent His Holy Spirit. It is such a society that we as His faithful followers are to co-partner with Him to build here on earth.
In this passage our Lord deals with some heavy issues. Issues that include anger, murder, lust, adultery, swearing, retaliation and the creation of an enemies list. These are things that dominate our news headlines each and every day. All we have to do is open a newspaper, begin to read some stories on line and we will be bombarded with news about each one of these things. In fact, about 80 - 90% of all of our modern day movies and TV shows have one of these as their plot line. If they were suddenly removed from society then modern day movies and TV would for the most part be non-existent.
We understand that those things (murder, lust, adultery etc...) are very wrong and I believe down deep we wish that they were not a part of our world but we also don't know how to get rid of them. As long as we have lived, murder, adultery, lust, swearing, retaliation and developing an enemies list along with other sins have been a part of our everyday life. It's been a part of our everyday diet of news and information. Sadly, they not only exist in the world but as we all know they exist in the Body of Christ.
We all have known good people, people who have attended worship for years and who have read their Bibles and believed that they were growing in Christ having to deal with many of these issues. Not so much in the area of murder but the divorce rate in the Church is not much different than the divorce rate in the world at large. And I don't think we really want to get into the adultery or lust issue because we all know that there are millions in the Church that deal with those issues. As far as people being able to trust the word of a Christian over that of an unbeliever I think we have enough lawyers and law suits that would testify against that truth. Finally, when it comes to having an enemies list I am afraid we are as guilty of that as well.