The Pastor\’s Pen

An Independent Baptist Preacher\’s Musings and Observations

Posts Tagged ‘Sermon on the Mount’

Mercy

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 10, 2008

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy

The Lord Jesus Christ [Matthew 5:7]

I’ve been preaching recently to our church on the “Blessed Attitudes“, or the Beatitudes, given by the Lord Jesus Christ in His opening of His Sermon on the Mount. WOW…what a study! I whole-heartily recommend every believer getting into studying what these principles truly mean and what the Lord Jesus is saying here in the beginning of His sermon.

I’ve been around a lot of Independent Baptist people in my walk with Christ, and one thing I’ve noticed about us is generally we have a hard time with…happiness – expressing our happiness or even somehow thinking it must be wrong that we can be spiritual and happy at the same time.

Now I know that’s “my opinion“, but I believe we get so focused on “the letter of the Law” – i.e., Doctrine – and don’t get me wrong…doctrine is vital! We have this saying at our church: Our methods are doctrinal and our motive is the love of Christ. Doctrine is truly vitally important, but I find many of us don’t express a consistent joy or happiness in our doctrine. I don’t know if we’re afraid to show much happiness because we’d be labeled charismatic or maybe “fleshly“…I don’t know…maybe I’ve just been around all kinds of “stuck-in-the-muds” since I’ve been saved 🙂 Help me out with this and let me know, but I’ve observed that many Independent Baptist people [I’ve been around] generally have a difficult time with being happy. [Again, please let me hear from you on this – is it the same with you, or do you observe true, Biblical happiness in our ranks or where you’re at?]

The Lord’s Sermon on the Mount is His longest and fullest discourse we have from Him in all four accounts of the Gospel. Jesus preaches His message to BELIEVERS. The Lord DOES NOT preach these Beatitudes with the idea, “Do these and you’ll earn Heaven and eternal life“…what He IS saying is, “As a saved child of God these principles WILL BE a mark in your life!” The Beatitudes are principles for Christians to live by, AND when followed, they’re meant to give us true, Biblical happiness!

Don’t believe me? What was the FIRST WORD out of the Lord’s mouth and repeated nine times in the opening of His message? BLESSED. The word blessed only means happiness of the highest kind! It would seem that the Lord Jesus cares that His followers would be happy. He’s concerned for your happiness. Christian, isn’t it “past-time” that you’d be joyful and happy in your walk with Christ? Study out and put into practice the “Blessed Attitudes” principles. They must be pretty important to have and apply – the Lord Jesus preached them!

How about this one – “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy“. Basically, the Lord is saying, “Ones who show mercy will have happiness of the highest kind, and they too will recieve mercy“. So, to have true, Biblical happiness, we must show mercy to others…okay…what does that mean?

WHAT IS MERCY

Before we can show it, we must know it. We must know what mercy means. When explaining the mercy of God, I like to say this in comparing Grace and Mercy:

Grace: God giving us what we DID NOT deserve / Mercy: God keeping from us what we DID deserve.

I think that’s a good definition of God’s mercy, but that’s not the definition we can use here in Matthew 5:7! Mercy here in verse 7 means COMPASSIONATE…but that’s not all it means…it goes further – this mercy means putting that compassion into action!

I think a great passage of Scripture to give us understanding on this mercy is James 2:15-16, “If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?”

 

Basically James is saying, “What good is concern and compassion if it’s not put into action”…MERCY! If you have concern and compassion for others but it produces no beneficial action, IT’S WORTHLESS!

 

HOW CAN WE SHOW MERCY

 

We know that mercy is an action born out of concern and compassion, so that means the action of mercy will be put on display…it WILL BE shown! HOW? Well how about:

 

I. UNBIASLY

 

This means without prejudice; without any pre-judgment or partiality. We as believers can become pretty bias and partial in how we treat all kinds of folks, can’t we? We have a real problem in that we ‘play favorites’! We don’t like our children to play favorites with other children and leave out other kids, and we don’t like it when it’s done to us and we’re left out…BUT FOR SOME REASON, we find ourselves many times playing favorites! Unfortunately, that’s not something new with believers – see James 2:1-9. When James writes against having “respect of persons” he exactly means God is against us “playing favorites“.

 

Do you “play favorites” with mercy? Is your compassion in action only determined for a few or for anyone who truly needs it? Why aren’t you happy in Christ…[Matt 5:7].

 

II. SACRIFICIALLY

 

Remember the story the Lord tells of the good Samaritan? [to refresh your memory – Luke 10:30-35] In this story did you notice that there was NO personal benefit for the good Samaritan? He was just a man who had acted out his compassion for someone else!

 

You may never be publicly recognized for showing mercy. You may never get a plaque honoring you or a picture taken of you in recognition of your mercy…but your recipient will be glad that you showed mercy! SACRIFICE!

 

III. PERSONALLY

 

True mercy comes from one whose been shown mercy and understands what it means to need mercy. CHRISTIAN – If anyone should know, YOU ought to know what it means to need mercy! Haven’t you experienced the mercy of Christ at Salvation? If you’re truly born-again, you have! So knowing God’s mercy as we do, we in turn ought to extend that mercy unto others! Nowhere does the Christian imitate God more or have a greater testimony than in showing mercy – please see Matt 25:35-40.

 

“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”. MERCY is putting concern and compassion into action for the benefit of others – that’s what the Lord Jesus did on the cross!

 

DO YOU KNOW CHRIST’S MERCY TODAY?

DO YOU SHOW CHRIST’S MERCY TO OTHERS?

 

Are you truly happy in your walk with Christ – apply those “Blessed Attitudes”!!!

Advertisements

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

That Secret Place of Prayer

Posted by Pastor Szekely on December 12, 2007

And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

As you read Matthew 6:5-6, you find yourself in the middle of the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount. The subject that Jesus is preaching on in these verses is PRAYER!

I think it’s real interesting to note that Moses in the Law didn’t give command or regulation in regard to prayer, and even the prophets say little when it comes to the direct duty of prayer. So then how fitting is it that the revelation of a prayer-life is found in the message of the Lord Jesus Christ! I think it’s awesome…“Lord, teach us to pray”!

We see from the Lord’s message that prayer is expected AND anticipated. In verses 5 and 6 we read the repeated words from Christ “when thou prayest”. So it’s not, “IF you pray”, but  it’s “WHEN you pray”! The relationship we have with our Lord requires us to pray because our God desires from us communion with Him.

Prayer ClosetNow a good teacher needs a classroom, wherever that may be. And if the Lord will be our Teacher and if He will teach us to pray, He too needs a classroom: “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet” (vs6). God wants us to find a fixed spot – a private place – where we can daily meet with Him! That spot may be anywhere…It may change from day to day…But what CANNOT change is that we have a daily quiet time in which we place ourselves in His presence!

DO YOU HAVE THIS TIME WITH GOD DAILY or DOES THIS LACK WITH YOU?

Many of you – and I – truly believe that the Bible is the Truth, that it is the very Words of God. It is not hard to believe that we have the Truth, but what is hard is being faithful with the Truth! What’s lacking with us?

Pray!We hear of other beliefs that we would label pagan and not of God, but those followers of false gods will be devout and pray 3 to 5 times every day! They’ll stop what they’re doing and make their time in prayer an important time of their day and life. But for many a Christian, he will not even have a daily, secret place of prayer and quiet time with the True God and Saviour. Again I must ask: WHAT’S LACKING WITH US?

It just might be that we really don’t see why God calls us to the closet! Other beliefs are devout in communing with their gods…but why does the Only True and Living God call us to a secret place of prayer daily?

I. Because that’s where we’ll have His Presence!

 

How many times in verse 6 alone is “thy Father” mentioned? It’s repeated twice by Jesus, so it must be important for us to know!

You’re prayer closet ought never to be dark…because the Light of His Presence should shine forth!

You’re approach into your prayer closet ought never to be dull…because every petition and every praise will be from a child unto the Father!

Your attitude must be “I must meet my Father”! This ought to be our daily desire!

WHY does God call us to the closet?

 

II. Because that’s where we’ll have our Privacy!

 

vs6 – “…and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret

 

God is One who hides Himself from the carnal eye, and He calls us to a “separation” from the world and from all the things going on around us so we can have that 1-on-1 time with Him! Just think about THAT…alone with God…why don’t we, or why wouldn’t we, take advantage of that?

 

WHY does God call us to a secret place of prayer daily?

 

 III. Because that’s where we’ll find our Prosperity!

 

vs6 – “…and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly

 

 James says, “Ye have not because ye ask not”! Why don’t we see the Mighty Hand of God move in magnificent ways? Our closets are empty therefore making our lives and service empty! Remember in Hebrews 11:6, “…and He is a rewarder of them that diligently…” We can have prosperity in God’s Will from the prayer closet because we’re trusting and giving over all our needs to the great love and power of our Heavenly Father!

 

Do YOU have a secret place of prayer? Do you have a daily quiet time alone with God? Go to God in Prayer and ThankfulnessWhy wouldn’t we when in “the closet” we will find God’s Presence, a “1-on-1” Private time alone with Him, and true prosperity in His Will?

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »

Influence

Posted by Pastor Szekely on September 22, 2007

In His sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus Christ preached, “Ye 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. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt 5:14-16)

The Lord is saying as salt and light, the people of God should have INFLUENCE!

Where is the salt and light? Does the world tremble before true, New Testament churches of the Lord Jesus Christ today? The world does not fear God because the world does not respect the people of God because the people of God do not fear God! We’re losing, or we’ve lost, our punch! We are being influenced by Laodacien lethargy rather than “[giving] our light unto all that are in the house”!

You may say, “Brother, you’re just a ‘doom & gloom’ preacher”…”look at our attendance, look at our buildings, look at our cash-flow!” [Sadly today, those ABCs are what many pastors focus on]. Friend, look past the attendance and see the apathy! Look past the grand edifices [and sepulchres for some!] and see the gross error! Look past the filthy lucre and see the lasciviousness that God calls sin! And many wonder why they have to plead and beg and “follow up” with folks who’ve “walked the aisle” or “prayed the prayer”…foolishness!

Where’s our Biblical influence? You’ll find it in a prayer closet…do you have one? Before we can have influence with men we must be influenced by God! Pray, “Not my will, Lord, but Thine, be done”! We pray, not to change the mind of God, but that our mind would be changed! Pray…and then go! Let them taste your salt; let your light so shine before men! Why? So “they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. Why be salt and light? Why pray and go? Why be influential for God? So that God would be glorified!!!

God has given to you a sphere of influence, so:

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Posted in Devotional Thoughts | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »