Leaving Laodicea
358 - Will You Face Persecution?

358 - Will You Face Persecution?

August 7, 2016
Consider these if / then passages:

"(then) Blessed are those (if) who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for (then) theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  (then) Blessed are you (if) when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.  (then) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for (then) great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matt. 5:10-12).

Yes, and all who (if) desire to live godly in Christ Jesus (then) will suffer persecution.  (2 Tim. 3:12).

Which leads us to ask a few questions:

Question:  Will you face persecution?
Answer:  That depends.
Question:  Depends on what?
Answer:  On how committed you are to live Godly in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:12).

To find out more about persecution and the if / then passages, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:10-12.

357 - Being a Peacemaker is More than You Think

357 - Being a Peacemaker is More than You Think

July 26, 2016
Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt. 5:9 ).   Which ponders the questions:

What is a peacemaker?
What does peace really mean?
And with whom does the peacemaker make peace?
Who is calling the peacemakers “sons of God”?
And what does this look like in real life?

Amazingly, the answer to these questions might very well change your world.  To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:9.

355 - Can Jesus’ Words be Taken at Face Value?

355 - Can Jesus’ Words be Taken at Face Value?

July 13, 2016
When we look at the teachings of Jesus, there are a few questions we must, at some point, ask ourselves.  Consider the following:

Can Jesus’ words be taken at face value?
Does He really mean what He says?
And do the words of Jesus apply to me today?
All of them?  Or just part of them?
And how can I tell which do and which don’t?
Or, were His statements and promises meant only for those who lived in New Testament times?
And again, how can I tell?

The answer to these questions will have a profound impact on how you understand the Sixth Beatitude.  There Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, (why) for they shall see God" (Matt. 5:8).

Want to know more?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:8.

354 - The Heart of the Law is Mercy

354 - The Heart of the Law is Mercy

July 11, 2016
The fifth Beatitude speaks of mercy. Jesus said:

Matthew 5:7 - "Blessed (makários) are (who) the merciful (those who show compassion, to be benevolent in both thoughts and actions; it is the word that emphasizes the misery with which grace deals), (why) for they (the merciful) shall obtain mercy."

But mercy from whom?

This Beatitude does not teach that mercy to men brings mercy from men, but that mercy to men brings mercy from God. If we are merciful to others, God will be merciful to us, whether men are or not.

But there is so much more to this wonderful statement of Jesus. To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:7.

353 - To Hunger and Thirst for Christ

353 - To Hunger and Thirst for Christ

July 10, 2016
At the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, 

Matthew 5:6 - "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."

And then we later find the Apostle Paul saying of Christ:

1 Corinthians 1:30 - But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption.

Are these two passages related?  Has Christ really become for us true righteousness? And, if so, what does that say about what we "hunger and thirst" for?  

To find out more, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:6.

352 - The Blessings of Meekness

352 - The Blessings of Meekness

June 20, 2016
One of the most difficult statements to reconcile is found in the third blessing of the Beatitudes spoken at the beginning of His Sermon on the Mount.  There He said,

Matthew 5:5 - "Blessed are the meek, (why) for they (the meek) shall inherit the earth."

But what does this mean?  Does meekness mean weakness?  Does it mean being soft and gentle?  Somewhat effeminate?  Cowardly?  Maybe whimpy?  And, if so, why does Jesus describe Himself as "gentle and lowly in heart"? (Matt. 11:29).  How can that be?

Actually, Biblical meekness is nothing like we think of it today.  And if you want to know more about what Jesus means when He says, "Blessed are the meek", then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:5.


349 - Blessed are Those who Grieve and Wail and Lament

349 - Blessed are Those who Grieve and Wail and Lament

May 29, 2016
In the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents the Beatitudes that introduce His teaching about living in the Kingdom of Heaven.  But there are some truths about living in His Kingdom that we sometimes forget.  For example:

External things cannot satisfy internal needs.  Got it.
And things are not always what they seem to be.  Got that too.
True happiness and true blessedness cannot be found in a fallen, cursed world.  Uh, if you say so.
Everything we see and touch in this world is temporary at best.  I know, but let's get all we can while we are here.

And if that wasn't enough, in Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, 

"Blessed are (who) those who mourn, (why) for they (those who mourn) shall be comforted." 

But that raises a few questions:  

What does it mean to Biblically mourn?  
What are we supposed to be mourning about?  
And why is mourning a good thing?  

To find out about the blessing that comes from Godly sorrow, keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:4.

346 - The Blessings of Being a Beggar

346 - The Blessings of Being a Beggar

May 11, 2016
In Matthew 5:1-12, we find a paradox known as the Beatitudes, the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount.  And in reading them today, they seem illogical and out of touch with real life.  Consider these questions:

How can you be blessed when you’re in mourning?
How is being poor in spirit a good thing?
In fact, how is being poor ever a good thing?
And how can you possibly call the meek blessed?
I always thought the strong were the ones who had it all together.  Is that not true anymore?

But these teachings of Jesus are not about life in the now, but about life in His Kingdom.  They speak of the realities of living with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And, by the way, they’re not a paradox.  They’re realities of life that transcend our feeble existence on earth.  They are, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

Want to know more about living in His Kingdom?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:3.

345 - The Sermon on the Mount

345 - The Sermon on the Mount

May 2, 2016
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus covers many subjects which all show us how to live in the Kingdom of our Lord.  Over and over again, Jesus revealed to us the new realities of the life of faith in His Kingdom.  Some of them include:

How to find true joy and happiness in the midst of suffering and turmoil - Matthew 5:3-12
How to find our true purpose in life - Matthew 5:13-16
How we are to now relate to the Law - Matthew 5:17-20

Then Jesus talks about the internalization of the Law.

He deals with anger, murder, strife, and unforgiveness - Matthew 5:21-26
Adultery, fornication, porn, and sexual sins - Matthew 5:27-30
Marriage and divorce - Matthew 5:31-32
Honesty, vows, oaths, and pledges - Matthew 5:33-37
Our "rights" and "privileges" - Matthew 5:38-42
And how to respond to those who hate us - Matthew 5:43-48

And that's just in one chapter.  There's so much more for us to learn about how to live with Him in His Kingdom.

Are you interested in discovering more about life in His Kingdom?  Then keep listening.

The following is a study on Matthew 5:1-2.