Reading through The Sermon on the Mount Matthew 5:21-44 specifically I noticed something in the way that Jesus addressed the crowds that spoke to my heart.
In this passage, I see Him being radically counter cultural by speaking against the old understanding of religious teaching and tradition. When He speaks the words “You have heard it said…”, it’s no secret to the crowd, the disciples, or the religious leaders that He is directly addressing Pharisaical teachings. The Pharisees over the years added to the Levitical and Mosaic Laws in effort to mark clearer the lines in regards to sin.
This did a few things. Mainly, it missed the point of the law at all. Which is about selfish and rebellious hearts seeking after their own desires rather than God’s. The Law was never about following a set of rules, but rather about revealing the deficiency of broken and fail humanity and their need for a salvation outside of themselves.
It got me thinking about what Jesus might say if he were addressing our culture.
“You have heard it said that …living a good and moral life, being good, will bring others to faith in Christ”
While I don’t doubt that this helps draw people to a place that invites conversation, scripture is clear both in the Great Commission and in Paul’s writings that we are commanded to preach the goodness, make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:12-15.
In my life, I’ve been convicted lately and very aware of how I speak with my mouth and what my actions might say to others. I might be the only glimpse of Jesus they ever see. If I really do take Jesus at His word that He is “the way, the truth and the life” and that all who don’t know Him are truly lost in their sin–what am I going to do about it? Just be nice?
I know it’s not my job to save people but it is my job to love them. How loving is it to have the cure to the deadliest ailment known to mankind and not share it?
All around me people are starving for healing, for real love and affection, for security not based on their performance–and I have the answer.
So what’s preventing me? If I am really honest, two things prevent me from running into the burning buildings of people’s lives–fear and apathy.
Fear of losing my job, losing friends, stepping out of my comfort zone, being laughed at. The list goes on. My example was Christ, who endured the shame of the cross so that I might be free and I am usually unwilling to endure the scorn of words from strangers to give others that same hope. Seems a little ungrateful to me.
Apathy is tricky. We do live in this world. Lately, I’ve been guilty of being so caught up in my plans for the now, the temporary , that I’ve completely dropped the ball on Kingdom investments. Scripture says that where my heart is, there my treasure will be also. I want my heart to be in the throne room of the King. I want it to be set on things that last, things that won’t end when my last breath does. That begins with remembering what my life is for.
What have you heard being said lately?
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