Summary: Part 2 of the series. Focuses on Anger and Adultery from the Sermon on the Mount.
Pulling Against God Part 2
In part 1 of this series, I asked the question of whether or not we were pulling against God. I told you last week that this could take on two different forms: the first was when God was trying to lead us one way and we were resisting because that is not the way we wanted to go and the second form was how we attempt to pull God in the direction that we want to go while asking Him to bless us as we go in our own direction. While we are in the process of pulling against God, we actually find Scriptures that we think support our efforts. I shared with you that the only way we will arrive at a state of mind where we stop pulling against God is to actually renew our minds. We must change how we think and come to realize that following God requires trust. My first example last week of renewing our minds focused on how we must walk by faith and not by sight. For this illustration I used Justin to imitate being blind and allowing me to lead him. Remember how he acted? Since he was not sure if I would run him into a wall or something he kept putting his hands out trying to feel his way through. That is how we act with God. We want to walk by faith, but to do so we must become blind to what we see with our eyes so that our spirits can take over. We no longer need to take peeks to see where God is taking us or to hold our hands out trying to feel our way through. When we begin to walk by faith, our minds starts down the road to be renewed.
In my message this week, we will examine one of Jesus sermons that focus on changes that we should make in how we think (renewing our minds). Turn with me to Matthew the 5th chapter.
I. Matthew Chapter Five Introduction
The fifth chapter of Matthew is the beginning of what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount”. In this one sermon, Jesus laid out several areas where we need to renew our minds. From this point I will refer to “renewing our minds” as “changing how we think” which may be easier for us to understand. In the beginning of His sermon, Jesus opens with an explanation around the blessings that awaits those who have certain attitudes. This section of His sermon is known as the Beatitudes. In this section Jesus discusses the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who were hungry and thirsty for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and those who were persecuted. In other words Jesus was talking about the current condition of everyone who was listening to Him. Most of the people hearing His message fell into one of the groups that He was referencing.
When Jesus finished encouraging everyone He transitioned to informing them of their purpose. The people of His time, just as we are today, are not always aware of our purpose. Also what is critical is the fact that when we are experiencing difficult times, it is hard to see how our purpose matters. Jesus began to share with them their purpose; to act as a preservative and a light for the earth. Jesus told them that they were salt. These people understood what He meant when he referenced them as being salt for salt was very important to their daily lives. Remember they did not have refrigerators or freezers at that time so the way to preserve food was to use salt. Jesus was saying that they were a source of preservation for the world. After He shared that He told them that if the salt has lost its saltiness, it was no good. In other words, if they were going to fulfill their purpose, they could not lose their ability to preserve.
The next example He gave them was that they were a light. What is the purpose of a light? Its purpose is to shine in darkness, to remove the darkness so that one may find their way. Jesus told them that a light cannot be hid, but when it is dark, those in the darkness will be able to see via the light. Again, Jesus was ministering to people who had been beat down and probably did not think they had much to offer the world; He was letting them know that this was not the case. He requested that everyone let their light shine so that those who did not know God could see Him through them. Again, He was talking purpose. In all of this Jesus was laying a foundation. In order for the people to receive what He was about to share with them, they had to understand that they had a purpose in this world.