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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 The Best Commentary On The Bible Is The Bible Itself
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
 
The Reflections Newsletter

Monday, July 26, 2010

**In This Issue**

  1. The Sermon On the Mount
  2. What Does the Bible Say About...? 

Welcome to the Reflections Newsletter from Reflect His Glory.  RHG is a co-ministry with Creation Science Ministries.  Feel free to send this to your relatives and friends.
 


The Sermon On  the Mount

The Sermon on the Mount is the manifesto of our King and the platform of the Prince of Peace... and it is the Law!  It goes vastly beyond the Law of Moses.  It is the Ten Commandments amplified and expanded.  As the Law of the Kingdom, it is the highest principled teaching in the Bible. Christ will reign on earth in person and will enforce every word of it.  The Sermon on the Mount will finally prevail when He, whose right it is to rule, shall come.

The Sermon on the Mount is the longest discourse recorded in Scripture and it was addressed to believers!  It was, and is the source of condemnation to the unsaved.  Do not let the familiarity of this passage lure you into thinking that you have mastered it.  The discourse is tough ground, and one of the most misunderstood portions of Scripture.

The Beatitudes

The word beatitude is not found in the Bible.  The word simply means "blessing" and comes from the Latin word for "blessed."  Note that these verses deal with attitudes, what we think in our hearts, and our outlook on life.  "Beatitudes" are the attitudes that should to be in our lives as true believers in Christ Jesus.  The first 16 verses of Matthew 5 describe the true Christian and deal with character.  The rest of the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7, deals with the conduct that grows out of character.  Character
always comes before conduct.  This is because what we are determines what we do.

There is a definite progression in these verses.  They show how the person begins with his or her own sense of sin and finally becomes a child of God and the results that follow:

  • "Poor in spirit" (v. 3): This is our attitude toward ourselves, allowing us to realize the necessity of humility in our lives, professing it toward others, and toward God.
  • "Mourn" (v. 4): This is our attitude toward sin, feeling a true sorrow for our sin.
  • "Meek" (v. 5): This is our attitude toward others.  We are teachable.  We do not defend ourselves when we are wrong.
  • "Hunger and thirst" (v. 6): Here, our attitude toward God is expressed; we receive His righteousness by faith because we ask for it.
  • "Merciful" (v. 7): We are to have a forgiving spirit and love others.
  • "Pure in heart" (v. 8): We keep our lives and motives clean.  Holiness is happiness to us.  There are no substitutes.
  • "Peacemakers" (v. 9): We should bring peace (comfort), between people and God, and between those who are at odds with each other.
  • "Persecuted" (v. 10): At some time in our lives, all who live godly lives will suffer persecution.

It is interesting that there are eight beatitudes listed.  The number 8 in Scripture is believed by some scholars to represent a new beginning.   Now, there is an unwritten 9th Beatitude: "Blessed are the flexible, for they will not be broken."  The rest of the Sermon on the Mount shows the results of the new life in the believer.

Salt of the Earth

You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted?  It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.   Matthew 5:13  KJV ER

Salt was used as a preservative; it preserves materials from corruption.  It also creates thirst and introduces flavor.  Salt speaks of inward character that influences a decaying world.  As the "salt of the earth", our task is to keep our lives pure that we might ''salt'' this earth and hold back corruption so that the Gospel can be delivered.

Light of the World

You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.      Matthew 5:14, 16  KJV ER

Light speaks of the outward testimony of good works that points to God.  Our good works must accompany our dedicated lives as we let our lights shine.  These are not 'good works' of salvation, as there are none.  These are works that glorify the Lord.

The Higher Righteousness

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven... For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. - Matthew 5:19a, 20   KJV ER

What a blow to the Jew!  He knew the extremes to which the professional Law-keepers resorted! What was to become of them?  This is the main point of the passage.  We cannot break the commandments and get away with it.  But we cannot keep them in our own strength either.  What a conundrum!  The only way we can keep them is to come to Christ Jesus for salvation, power, and strength.  The commandments are not a way of salvation but a means to show us the way to salvation, which is through the acceptance of the work of our Lord and Savior.

Pharisaical Error

The scribes and Pharisees were not insincere: they tried to adhere to the keeping of the Law. Although misguided, they were zealous and sincere.  Anyone that tries to reconcile himself to God by his works, his rules, or his legalism is pharisaical.  Is there any other way to heaven other than by Christ Jesus?  If there is, Jesus' own prayers were not answered when was in Gethsemane, as He pleaded with the Father three times for an alternative.

Which "Commandments"?

What are "these commandments" being referred to in Matthew 5:19?  The ones we find in the remainder of Matthew 5 and continuing in Chapters 6 and 7.  His call was to obedience (John 14:15, 21, 23; 1 John 5:3).  Does the believer need to "keep the Law?"  The fact of the matter is that the Law is still a standard.  It reveals to me that I cannot measure up to God's standard. This, in turn, drives me to the cross of Christ.  The only way I can fulfill the Law is by accepting the only One who could fulfill it, and that is Christ Jesus.

Jesus Fulfilled the Law

Jesus became our sacrifice and shed His own sinless blood on our behalf.  He offered Himself once for all for the sins of all mankind (Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 26, 28, 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18). Everything was fulfilled just before Jesusí death on the cross when He uttered His last words: "It is finished!" (John 19:30) The Greek word is tetelestai, which means "paid in full."  The second way He fulfilled the Law is that He taught and commanded what Godís will is under the New Covenant for those who would enter the Kingdom of God.  He gave us a new set of rules. Paul called those rules "the law of Christ," found in Galatians 6:2.  Some of those were the same as God the Father gave in the Old Testament Law.  The Old Testament Law was not changed by Christ Jesus.  It was fulfilled and clarified.

"For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believes."  Romans  10:4.   KJV ER

New Testament believers are not under the Law, but are to live up to the standard.  Christ Jesus effectively abolished the Law through His sacrifice on the cross. 

The Purpose of the Law

  • Through the Law we become conscious of our sin.  (Romans 3:20)
  • The Law was added so that the trespass might increase.  (Romans 5:20)
  • It was added because of transgressions until the Seed, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom the promise referred, had come.  (Galatians 3:19)
  • The Law was put 'in charge' to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.  (Galatians 3:24)
  • Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the Law. (Galatians 3:25)

Paul was the writer who most discussed the question of the Old Testament Law and its applicability to the New Testament Christian.  He was in a unique position to do so, having been a Pharisee who had been taught by Rabbi Gamaliel (Acts 22:3), an esteemed teacher of the Law. The Law said, ''You shall not kill [murder]'' (Ex 20:13).  But Jesus said, ''Donít be angry with others.'' Anger is like murder in the heart and it can lead to evil words and actual murder.  While actual adultery is far worse than inward lustful fantasies, the inner desires can quickly lead to this forbidden sin (Ex 20:14).  We must deal ruthlessly with ourselves and not encourage the imagination to ''feed on'' these sins.  The eyes and the hands (seeing and touching) must be kept under control.

Religious Practice

In Matthew Chapter 5, the Lord speaks of the righteousness His subjects must possess.  It must be a righteousness to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, and that comes only through trust in Christ Jesus.  Matthew Chapter 6 deals with the external part of religion: the righteousness that the subjects of the kingdom are to practice.  The internal motive, of course, is the important thing in what you do for God. Chapter 7 deals with judging others, prayer, and what we call the "Golden Rule."

The Law of Christ

Jesus did not set aside the Law of Moses, He fulfilled it!  He took the Law of Moses, interpreted it in the extreme, and in an absolute sense.  Then He absolutely fulfilled it!  Remember, our salvation does not accrue because of our ability to fulfill Matthew Chapters 5, 6, and 7, but because Christ Jesus did.  You and I can appropriate His achievement to our benefit.  If you have not done it yet, do it now, in the privacy of your own will.

 


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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory


What Does the Bible Say About...?

 

In this section of the Reflections Newsletter we answer questions that have been asked.  If you have a question that you would like ask, and do not mind having it printed in the newsletter, (your name will not be mentioned), feel free to send your question in an email to me at biblequestions@reflecthisglory.org.  Of course, you may call me anytime by phone at 801-302-1111.

The question for this issue is, "Can you explain the "whole armor of God" that is spoken of in Ephesians Chapter 6?"

The armor is listed in the following passage found in Ephesians 6:14-17.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:  KJV ER 

Several pieces of equipment and armor are mentioned within these four verses.  They aid us in the spiritual battles that we all face during our walk with God.

  1. Truth, which girds our loins.  Truth acts in the form of a belt, or binding, to keep our other equipment in its' proper place.  Honesty and integrity are to be identifying characteristics of the soldier who is for Christ Jesus.
     
  2. The breastplate of righteousness.  A breastplate protects the vital organs from attack.  We are not only to be honest, we also are to be inherently good, deal fairly and righteously with everone, directly or indirectly.  This is because we all have the ability to influence others.
     
  3. The preparation with the Gospel of peace.  This is how our feet are to be covered.  The meaning here is that our steps must be firmly controlled and ready to bring the message of the Gospel to those who ask, and to share it whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Romans 10:15 talks of the feet that preach the Gospel of peace.
     
  4. The shield of faith.  Our faith shows our total dependence on God for His presence and power when we are under attack.  It is spoken of in the Bible as a shield, a large defensive weapon.  Faith will deflect 'Satan bullets, spears and arrows' when he attempts to cause us to doubt the goodness of the truth of God.
     
  5. The helmet of salvation.  Salvation is God's gift to all who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  Satan uses a variety of tactics against our minds.  These are designed to weaken our faith, ruin our discernment, corrupt our thoughts and sway us through false teaching.  If successful, these 'spiritual head-wounds' will make it easier for Satan to captivate our minds to do his will. 
     
  6. The sword of the Spirit.  This is the Word of God.  This piece of armor, the last named in the passage, is the only offensive weapon.  It is provided by the Holy Spirit.  When it is used by the believer, it exposes the attitudes and actions of others, bringing them under conviction.  This is emphasized in Hebrews 4:12.  Jesus used the Word of God when He was being tempted by Satan in Matthew 4:1-11.

God has provided us with this armor to equip us for spiritual battle.  Failure to use it  makes us ineffective in our walk with the Lord.  But if we use the full armor that has been given to us by God, it will make us a strong, determined defense force for Christ Jesus.

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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

 

**MEMORY VERSE OF THE MONTH**

For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


Hebrews 4:15-16  KJV ER

Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory

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"Then Jesus said to those Jews which believed on him,
"
If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed;
And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free
."

John 8:31-32

  
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
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Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory
Bruce Larner - Reflect His Glory