Painter for hire?

Readings Matthew 5

Matthew 5:43-44 (NIV)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

Painters for hire.  Ladder needed for the one on the left.

Dear Kingdom dwellers/seekers,

I have been painting the basement floor.  If you saw my fingers right now, you could have figured that out yourself.  Good thing I had enough paint for the floor and my hands.  The basement isn’t the brightest place, and at times it was hard to see what I was doing.  Light does make a big difference.  Later on, in different lighting I could see how my paint job needed some more help.

In Matthew 5, we see God shedding light on how people in His Kingdom should live.  It reveals to me at least how no external “paint job” is going to make me acceptable in His eyes.  It is purely a job for the Master Painter!

Matthew 5 is full of topics to discuss.  It is the beginning of what people have called the Sermon on the Mount.  It does not appear that Jesus had bulletins, or sermon notes passed out, that had the title of his message for the day.  The Beatitudes  as we know them, were also a man made name for verses 3-10.  I think of these as “What should your attitude be?”

Jesus has just announced that His kingdom is at hand, people need to repent, and be ready for His Kingdom (Matthew 4:17).  Matthew 5 presents a very different picture than what the religious leaders of the time were presenting to the people.  As we will see in the Gospels, (the first four books in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), the religion of the Pharisees appeared to be more of an external religion.  It was a religion of going through the motions, with no true relationship with the living God.

In the message of Jesus in this chapter, we see what should be the characteristics of one that is able to live in God’s Kingdom.  Blessed, or happy, or fortunate are those who exhibit that internal character that is spoken of here.  Ultimately, those in God’s Kingdom have come to recognize their desperate state apart from Christ, and are living in total dependence on God.

As you read through Matthew 5, you may get the same feeling you get when you read through the 10 Commandments,  “I can’t do this!”  That is exactly the answer that should come.  Apart from God, it is impossible.  But praise God, He has made it possible for His Son, Jesus, to be our righteousness, to be our Life, so that we can enjoy Kingdom living.  We do not have to live empty lives, trying to look good.  God is able to bring about that internal, eternal change, that can be a light for all to see, and give God the glory.

Do you recognize who you are/were?  Unfit for Kingdom living.  Listen to these words:

Titus 3:3-8 (NIV)
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
8 This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Have you trusted in God?  Then we can devote ourselves to doing good, as He has made us new creations, created new on the inside, now being able to do the things we were created for.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–
9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If you are His Child, you can enjoy being used by God for His exact purpose today.

Enjoy Kingdom living!  Let your light shine today!

Matthew 5:16 (NIV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

In Christ,

Steve

Any other thoughts?  There should be many.  If you would like to share some, go to http://www.            , or give someone a call, or share it this Sunday.

Consider memorizing these verses and/or meditating on them.

Matthew 5:3-10 (NIV)
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Do you see yourself in these?  Do you see Christ in you?  Do others?

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