Difficult Inconvenient Truths #003 – part 2 “light”

This message is a continuation from the previous

 

Matthew 5:13 – “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

 

I had pointed out when Jesus said “You are the salt of the earth that is referring to a person who is keeping faith and covenant relationship with God.

I had also explained how the message reflected both a warning against apostasy and an encouragement to keep faith.

 

Keep preaching Jesus

Be living witness of Jesus death and resurrection

Proclaim Jesus is the Messiah who fulfilled the promises of God to save us.

 

Now let’s look at what Jesus said next to continue the message

 

Matthew 5:14-16

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 in 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 is in heaven.

 

God’s word is true light

This light of God’s truth is our source of life.

When Jesus starts preaching “repent, for the kingdom of God has come”, people were drawn to this bright shining light in a world of darkness.

 

John 1:4-5 – In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

We are called to continue the preaching ministry of Jesus.

But when disciples of Jesus stop preaching the Gospel, the light of God’s truth is prevented from shining forth.

With regards to Gospel outreach which must include preaching and teaching of the word, what become difficult with regards to the message of Matthew 5:14-16

 

“good works”

 

There are people who will magnify deeds over words to the extend preaching and teaching of the word becomes marginalized or even side-lined. And have made the church become no different with secular charity organizations.

 

The church is the only entity here on Earth commission by Jesus to preach the Gospel

 

Charities organizations have no obligation to preach the Gospel.

We are called to preach the Gospel!

So what should we do?

 

The preaching of the Gospel always goes hand-in-hand with good deeds.

 

The preaching of the Gospel takes priority in Christian ministry, only that we must back it up with good deeds!

In our days, there are religious harmony groups that prevented public preaching of the Gospel though emphasis on charity deeds only.

We should be aware in certain cases public prayers in Jesus name have been halted for the sake of religious-harmony and political-correctness

 

Christians are called to foot the bills for charity deeds and banned from preaching!

 

Are we being fair to Jesus?

Jesus went to the cross, shed His blood for us, and gave us instruction to preach the Gospel.

Should we be put to silence by religious-harmony and political-correctness?

 

Jesus was persecuted for preaching the Gospel

We will be persecuted for preaching the Gospel

 

We should know Christian groups who engage in both preaching of the Gospel and good deeds, shines more bright for Jesus.

While the world gets darker, we need to shine brighter for Jesus

 

Psalm 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

 

Why do we need a lamp?

Because we live in a dark world!

Who do we need light in our path?

Because the light of God’s truth show us the path to eternity!

 

Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

 

Therefore Jesus said in Matthew 5:13-16

 

You are the salt of the earth

 

You are the light of the world. …

 

You are people of covenant relationship with God

You are people of God’s light and truth.

 

We are people of faith here on Earth!

Therefore everywhere we go we bring with us this hope and life in Jesus.

 

Everywhere we go we let the light of Jesus shine, so that those who live in darkness may see the light.

 

Isaiah 9:2 – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

 

Matthew 4:16 – the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

 

Colossians 1:5 – because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,

 

Towards the end of Jesus public ministry, when He said to us is important. In John 15, during the last supper, Jesus gave us instruction to abide in Him

What does it mean to abide in Him?

 

To be living witness Jesus is the way to eternal life

To testify Jesus is our Lord and Savior

To keep faith and covenant relationship with Jesus

 

After Jesus resurrection, what He said to us is even more important

 

“Go make disciples of all nations”

 

2 Corinthians 5:20 – Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

 

We are salt and light means we are ambassadors for Christ.

 

In-His-Service

David Z

Difficult Inconvenient Truth #001 (edited/updated 2018.05.14)

For those of us who have the passion to read our Bible every day …

From time to time we read very difficult passages.

They are difficult for us because they demand firm decision making and sacrifices on our part to fully agree with what Jesus said and to do them!

They are difficult because they address our relationship with God and the people around us.

Here is one example –

 

Luke 14:26  – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

 

This message is ..

Shocking …

Disturbing …

This message came from the same person who went to the cross and died for our sins.

For us who have accepted the grace and mercy of God to become Christians, we find this message very serious, especially considering it is spoken by Jesus Himself.

Jesus Himself taught us to love God and to love our neighbor, so why would Jesus say anything like that?

 

A good way to gain a better understanding of what Jesus said is to apply the following two basic principles:

1) Most of Jesus’ teachings and messages can be cross referenced to what was written or revealed in the Old Testament.

If we want to better understand Jesus’ teachings and commandments, (what He did and why He did it,) it is a good idea to explore what is written in the Old Testament.

The Old Testament does not just prophesy about the coming of Jesus, but also about His ministry, His teachings, how Jesus is the Messiah, the savior of the world, and what we need to do to follow Jesus.

Jesus came to fulfill what was written and revealed about Him in the Old Testament. Therefore, being a good student of the Old Testament will give us a better understanding of what Jesus said and taught.

 

2) Jesus message highlights the relationship between God and man as a priority.

Jesus message also teaches us about personal relationships but prioritizes the relationship between God and man. This does not mean that Jesus marginalized human relationships.

God’s relationship towards man is pure, in truth and righteousness as God is pure, true and righteous. It goes beyond human time into eternity.

Personal relationships can be complicated and limited by time.

*If you can believe and accept that Jesus is in fact helping us to establish better and longer lasting human relationships by teaching us to follow God’s example, we are better prepared to understand some of Jesus difficult teachings.

 

Now let’s look at

Luke 14:26  – “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

Take note Jesus mentioned “even his own life” – so there is something bigger than the individual self being addressed here.

Jesus is addressing our actions and behavior which effect community living.

This message can be directly crossed referenced to

Deuteronomy 13:6-8

6 “If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, 7 some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, 8 you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him.

The context of Deuteronomy was given by God Himself, recorded by Moses and administered to a generation of people prepared to enter the Promised Land.

The commandments of God were meant to protect them. They were also designed to keep them in unity and harmony with God, community, and teach them the way of righteousness and truth.

Take note that God’s commandments have a lot of impact on community living.

A little bit of a history lesson; the warning against going astray to serve other gods was not just about going to the temple and shrines to ask for individual blessings and throwing  a few coins into the donation box.

There were ancient practices of children sacrifices, sorceries and mediums, and dark magic which brought destruction upon the whole community.

If you care about your family, you will not want to get involved in these and you will want your family to stay safe.

 

You want to make sure you serve the true and living God who will reward you with eternal life, goodness and honor, and teach you the way of truth, justice and righteousness.

Jesus’ death and resurrection is our best guarantee that His promise of eternal life is  definite, sure and will be done!

 

In the message of Luke, Jesus was setting forth conditions to be His disciples.

We need to know what kind of disciples Jesus wants us to be.

Disciples of the love of God …

Disciples of truth and righteousness

Disciples of good deeds

And most important … disciples that receive eternal life!

 

Jesus teachings and commandments are consistent with His character and mission to save us and give us the gift of eternal life.

If Jesus demanded repentance from sin, preached against evilness and wickedness, why do you think Jesus would preached such a difficult message in Luke 14:26?

 

If you have a friend who asked you to join him to commit a crime, would you agree and go along with it? Even if you feel circumstances are extremely difficult?

If you have a family member who put you under pressure to do things that are morally wrong and against ethical values, would you do them? Especially with regards to actions and behaviors that will impact community living in a negative and destructive way – will you do it?

We should not be naïve or ignorant. Such things do happen in society and sometimes we feel caught in-between.

Sometimes we have friends and family who have strayed to a wrong motive.

We want to help them, show them the love of Jesus, and put them back on the right path.

 

Jesus has provided us a better peaceful way to do it right –

 

1 Timothy 4:16 – Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

I cannot teach others the way to eternal life if I myself am not convinced Jesus can grant eternal life.

In the message of Luke 14:26, Jesus is challenging our own faith and conviction, first and foremost.

*Jesus is not teaching us to hate people, but is teaching us to stay on the path of righteousness, goodness and truth.  He wants us to testify and bear witness of God’s truth by standing our ground.

When Jesus Himself was crucified on the cross, betrayed and mocked by false accusers, He was prepared to die for truth.

Jesus allowed Himself to be killed for the truth of the Gospel.

After Jesus was resurrected, His disciples’ faith was revived.

Jesus death and resurrection is our best testimony that God is true and faithful.

Only Jesus can give us the gift of eternal life and we want to share that with our family and friends.

We cannot do it if we ourselves are not convinced about the promises of God.

 

In-His-Service

David Z